ALS: My Final Frontier

Project ID: 10031
Project Image
$61,531 Left to reach milestone 1!
Milestones Reached:
$969 Total Raised
Overall Progress: 0%

About This Project

NOTE: This is NOT an "all-or-nothing" campaign. All funds raised will go directly to Rahul, regardless if the goal is met.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder, that is characterized by progressive muscle paralysis that and spreads rapidly leading to death from respiratory failure in 3-5 years. Although representing the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the Western world, the etiology and cause of ALS is poorly understood with incomplete characterization of risk factors. Given the rapid disease progression and the absence of disease-modifying therapies, there is an urgent need to better understand ALS to expedite the development of therapeutic strategies.

Identification of genetic risk factors has provided important insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying ALS. We have recently developed and validated genetic methods for discovering new genes associated with different diseases. In this project, we will use these tools along with data from 65 different traits acquired from over 3 million people worldwide to find new ALS genes. We will exploit this large database to discover genes that are shared between ALS and modifiable risk factors such as high cholesterol and inflammation. We will then use cellular and molecular approaches to begin to define the role that these risk genes play in ALS associated neurodegeneration. By unveiling the genetic basis of ALS, this work will improve our understanding of what causes ALS and identify new therapeutic targets. We anticipate that the methods from this project will help identify people who are at high risk for ALS and developing heart disease or inflammation; lowering cholesterol levels or inflammation in these people may hold the key to preventing ALS.

On a personal note, I was diagnosed with ALS on February 17, 2017. ALS has completely destroyed my body; I can't speak, walk, use my hands or hold my head up. I am on a breathing machine because I'm no longer able to take deep breaths. However, my mind and soul are strong. Using a hands-free setup that my friend and I came up with, I am actively continuing my research. My goal is to help people like me who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases and for whom being alive is a daily struggle.

I would like to ask your help. Your donation will advance research and help ALS patients like me. I hope you will consider donating.

Rahul was featured in the Washington Post. Check it out to learn more about his incredible story.

The Researchers

Researcher Photo
Rahul Desikan

Assistant Professor

Department of Radiology

Univeristy of California San Francisco