Dr. Chandler Walker, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Comprehensive Care at Indiana University School of Dentistry, was awarded a three-year, $1.1 million grant from Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Inc. (NDR) for stem-cell research related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The goal of Dr. Walker’s NDR-funded research is to move stem cell-based therapies into clinical trials for people afflicted with ALS. This research involves thoroughly characterizing the protein and extracellular vesicle/exosome content of the conditioned medium and optimizing the therapy to provide maximal benefits with reduced risk and side effects. “These outcomes will lay the groundwork to support the therapeutic efficacy and progress a stem cell conditioned medium as a viable ALS treatment,” Dr. Walker said. Dr. Walker’s research at Indiana University School of Dentistry is a collaboration with the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The projects funded by NDR will build upon his VA research for translating promising stem-cell based therapies to clinical application. “NDR provides research funding to advance our understanding of the cause of ALS, as well to use that knowledge to develop, test, and translate therapies for ALS patients,” Dr. Walker said. “There are no cures for ALS, and it is 100% fatal. We hope our funded research will help accelerate effective therapies to patients sooner than later.”