OSU research grows ALS study, aims for cure

ALS researchers

Led by increases in federal and industry funding, Oregon State University recorded $285 million in research grants and contracts — its second-best year ever — in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014. The funds spur work in health, the environment, advanced engineering and other topics that contribute to healthier communities and a stronger economy.

The volume of research at Oregon State, as measured by research grants and contracts, annually totals more than research funding at all of Oregon’s other public universities.

Among this research is work to deliver a cure for ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease. Joe Beckman in the College of Science leads the effort to understand the cause and potential treatment for this devastating disease that kills nerve cells and is almost always fatal.

With support from the National Institutes of Health, Beckman has shown that ALS is brought on by the interaction of copper with an enzyme that protects cells from damage. By treating cells in which the enzyme has been compromised, he has shown that the progress of ALS can be slowed or even stopped in laboratory mice.

Beckman also works with the ALS Association of Oregon to help people afflicted with the disease. His research is an example of Oregon State’s commitment to improving lives.

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