June 13, 2002
CALABASAS HILLS, Calif., /PRNewswire/ -- On June 11, 2002 the Federal Register (Vol. 67, No. 112) added a Notice of a Program Announcement (Announcement) (02154) from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), an Agency within the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Announcement is for a cooperative agreement program to "Determine the Prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in communities around hazardous waste sites." This addresses the "Healthy People 2010" focus area of Environmental Health.
"This ATSDR Announcement is an important step in collecting more information about what role the environment may play in ALS," said Mary Lyon, Vice President, Patient Services for The ALS Association. "The ALS Association (ALSA) is notified several times each year of suspected clusters and concerns about local toxicant exposures. ALSA has shared these concerns with neurologists, epidemiologists and the Agency. The Program Announcement is an opportunity for the ATSDR to respond to community concerns about possible environmental toxicant exposures and the incidence and prevalence of ALS."
ALSA is contacting all 50 State Health Departments urging them to submit an application. The suspected environmental toxicant(s) do not have to be a Federal Super Fund Site. Where there are local concerns about the prevalence of ALS and possible toxicant exposures, ALSA is encouraging the ALS community to contact their State Health Department and ALSA Center or ALS Clinic to ask them to consider applying for one of the awards. Eligible applicants have to be from State Health Departments or State universities, colleges or research institutions. It might be useful for the applications to come from collaborations between State Health Departments and local State universities where there is an ALSA Center or ALS Clinic.
ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease with an average survival period of two to five years from the time of diagnosis, is believed by many to be a multifactoral disease, a result of a cascade of events. Adds ALSA's Mary Lyon, "It is important that we [the ALS community] respond to this opportunity to study prevalence of ALS in these communities by having a number of competitive applications." The Agency plans to follow up these prevalence projects with etiologic investigations of the toxicants to try and identify ALS risk factors.
For 2002, $450,000 is available for up to six projects that focus on ascertainment of prevalence in local communities. There is a very short timeframe for response to this Announcement. A letter of intent from the investigator has to be submitted to ATSDR on June 30, 2002 and the application is due on July 30, 2002. Funding will begin on September 1, 2002. Projects can be up to three years in duration.
For more information about this Program Announcement and the application, go to the Federal Register http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a020611c.html and click on TEXT next to the Notice of the MS/ALS Prevalence Announcement.
The ALS Association is the only national nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated soley to the fight against ALS through its nationally directed scientific research, patient services, advocacy, education and awareness programs. For more information about ALS and The ALS Association go to http://www.alsa.org .
SOURCE ALS Association
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