Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating, complex, and heterogeneous neurodegenerative disease that affects the neurons that control voluntary muscle movement. People with the disease become progressively weaker and lose their ability to walk, talk, move, swallow, and eventually breathe on their own, with most people dying within 3-5 years of symptom onset. But there is hope: scientific discoveries have resulted in the identification of multiple therapeutic targets, and three disease-modifying, plus one symptom-managing, ALS therapies have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, to develop truly effective ALS treatments, we must address numerous challenges.
Current ALS-specific Funding Opportunities
- Coordinating Center for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Clinical Research Consortium (OTA-23-010)(pdf, 372 KB)
- Notice of Special Interest: Advancing Research for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Featured Initiatives and Programs
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) study on ALS: Accelerating Treatments and Improving Quality of Life
- Accelerating Access to Critical Therapies for ALS Act (ACT for ALS)
- NIH ALS Expanded Access Programs
- ALS Public-Private Partnerships
NINDS Division of Neuroscience
The NINDS Division of Neuroscience (DON) supports research aimed at understanding fundamental mechanisms of development, structure and function of the nervous system in health and disease. DON utilizes a variety of grant mechanisms to support this research. A complete list of grant mechanisms can be found on the Types of Research Support page.
NINDS Interdisciplinary Team Science RM1
The NINDS Interdisciplinary Team Science RM1 encourages interdisciplinary teams of experts that seek to cross technical and conceptual boundaries through collaboration to achieve ambitious goals for basic, translational, and clinical research questions within the mission of NINDS.
NINDS Division of Translational Research
The NINDS Division of Translational Research (DTR) provides funding and through grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to academic and industry researchers to advance early-stage neurological technologies, devices, and therapeutic programs to industry adoption (i.e., investor funding and corporate partnerships).
Ultra-rare Gene-based Therapy (URGenT) Program
The Ultra-rare Gene-based Therapy (URGenT) program will support the development of state-of-the-art gene-based therapies for ultra-rare neurological diseases, including familial forms of ALS.
The NINDS Biomarker Program 1) promotes rigorous biomarker identification and validation through milestone-driven funding opportunities, 2) maintains an updated website containing information about existing NINDS and NIH biomarker sample and data repository resources and 3) facilitates the development of future resources focused on bridging the gaps in the biomarker development pipeline. In addition, the Clinical Trial Readiness for Rare Neurological and Neuromuscular Diseases program of NINDS DON supports studies to develop clinically validated biomarkers and clinical outcome assessment measures appropriate for use in upcoming clinical trials.
The NINDS Small Business Program is committed to helping small business concerns commercialize their technologies through its grant funding, technical assistance program participation, and outreach at meetings.
NINDS Office of Neural Exposome and Toxicology Research (ONETOX)
The NINDS Office of Neural Exposome and Toxicology Research (ONETOX) supports research and provides resources to advance knowledge of internal and external exposures that affect brain and nervous system health (Neural Exposome), leads research related to chemical threats, and provides resources that promote chemical safety.
NINDS Division of Clinical Research
The NINDS Division of Clinical Research (DCR) provides oversight for clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of innovative treatments of neurological disorders and stroke, epidemiological studies of natural history, biomarker studies, and studies designed to elucidate the causes of neurological disorders. The Division of Clinical Research also develops new clinical science initiatives, ensures the proper level of patient safety monitoring, maintains the scientific integrity of clinical trials, and provides expertise in statistics and clinical trial design to the Institute and to clinical investigators.
NIH Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative
The NIH BRAIN Initiative is accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies to enable researchers to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. Long desired by researchers seeking new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, this picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought.
Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN)
The RDCRN program is designed to advance medical research on rare diseases by providing support for clinical studies and facilitating collaboration, study enrollment and data sharing. Through the RDCRN consortia, physician scientists and their multidisciplinary teams work together with patient advocacy groups to study more than 200 rare diseases at sites across the nation. The Clinical Research in ALS and Related Disorders for Therapeutic Development (CReATe) Consortium.
NINDS Division of Intramural Research
Investigators in the NINDS intramural program conduct research in the basic, translational, and clinical neurosciences at the NINDS Bethesda, Maryland laboratories.
Featured NINDS ALS Research Resources
The NINDS Human Cell and Data Repository (NHCDR) includes fibroblasts and/or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for ALS, FTD, Alzheimer’s Disease, Ataxia-telangiectasia, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and healthy controls. Cell sources, including isogenic cell lines for current and new diseases covered by the NINDS are continuing to be added.
The iPSC Neurodegenerative Disease Initiative (iNDI) of the NIH Intramural Center for Alzheimer's and Related Dementias (CARD) is building a repository of genetically engineered cellular models of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, including FTD/ALS.
The NIH NeuroBioBank, supported by the NIMH, NINDS, and NICHD is a national resource for investigators utilizing human post-mortem brain tissue and related biospecimens for their research to understand conditions of the nervous system.
Critical Path (C-Path) for Rare Neurodegenerative Diseases (CP-RND) is a public-private collaboration focused on advancing the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and fostering the development of treatments for ALS and other rare neurodegenerative diseases.
In February 2023, the NINDS ALS Strategic Priorities(pdf, 1818 KB) were approved by the NINDS Advisory Council. These priorities were developed with input from a public Request for Information (RFI responses(pdf, 180 KB)) and working groups of scientists, clinicians, advocates, and people living with ALS.
Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories
|Research/Disease Areas*||FY 2020
*Dollars in millions and rounded
To learn more about this NIH Investment, please visit the Categorical Spending site and enter "ALS".
Related Federal Programs
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: National ALS Registry
Food and Drug Administration: ACT for ALS implementation
Department of Defense: Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for ALS
Proceedings and Outcomes
ALS Strategic Priorities Workshop
|Name||Role||Areas of Interest|
|Amelie Gubitz, PhD||Lead Program Director for ALS||ALS basic, translational, and clinical research|
|Carol Taylor-Burds, PhD||Program Director||Biomarkers|
|Christine Swanson-Fischer, PhD||Program Director||ALS Public-Private Partnership|
|Emily Caporello, PhD||Program Director||Small business innovative research (SBIR) & small business technology transfer (STTR)|
|Frank Shewmaker, PhD||Program Director||Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)|
|Srikanth Ranganathan, PhD||Program Director||ALS Public-Private Partnership|
|Lumy Sawaki-Adams, MD, PhD||Program Director||Clinical research, including natural history & clinical trials|