In order to streamline disease research in ALS and other motor neuron diseases, we have joined a consortium of clinical centers (Hershey and University of Pittsburgh) who will collaborate on clinical and basic research projects. As part of this collaboration, de-identified clinical data from subjects at each institution will be entered into a joint database kindly provided and maintained by the ALS Hope Foundation. This database is password protected and contains only de-identified information. In addition to clinical data, any research specimens that are available through IRB approved tissue collections will be linked to the subject so that the collaborating investigators can share samples and have the maximum information. This will enhance the usefulness of each specimen.
Once established, the database will provide a resource in which clinical data on a large number of patients along with tissue (blood, urine, muscle, csf, and autopsy) samples will be readily available. This will expedite research by circumventing the delays in collecting specimens prospectively and increase the number of specimens available by allowing the collaborating researchers access to each others specimens. In each case there will be a formal request placed to use specimens that are at the other institutions. These specimens will be used for research in the ALS Center of Hope at the Drexel University College of Medicine and shared with outside investigators with valid IRB approved protocols.