Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 8/29/2023

Request for Proposals: Focused Ultrasound and ALS Research

The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and The ALS Association established a partnership funding program earlier this year with the goal of advancing the development of new focused ultrasound applications for the treatment and diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The organizations will extend up to $1 million in funding to support research projects that address critical unanswered questions to treat ALS patients.   

Those interested in applying for this funding opportunity must first submit a letter of intent describing the research plan by Monday, October 2, 2023, at 5pm Eastern.   

Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full research proposal, with a submission deadline of December 1, 2023.

Areas of Interest

While all projects submitted related to the use of focused ultrasound technology for ALS will be considered, the selection committee will prioritize projects that address the following two research areas. 

Research Area #1: Focused Ultrasound and Blood-Brain Barrier Opening (BBBO) 

The quantification of neurofilament light chain (NfL) in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid has emerged as a critical endpoint biomarker for pharmaceutical clinical trials in patients with ALS. In addition, studies have reported that the presence of NfL precedes clinical diagnosis by up to 12 months.  

The potential to detect NfL earlier in the disease could allow for the delivery of neuroprotective agents and even gene-targeted therapies that could significantly delay or halt the typical course of ALS. Focused ultrasound has been reported to safely and reversibly open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) within the motor cortex of patients with ALS, which could allow for the targeted delivery of therapeutics. This technique could also permit two-way trafficking of NfL and other analytes back into the circulation for earlier and more sensitive detection, characterization of disease subtypes, and disease monitoring.  

Research Area #2: Focused Ultrasound and Neuromodulation (NM)

The ALS Foundation and Focused Ultrasound Foundation encourage projects that will improve the current quality and longevity of life for patients until a cure or new treatments are available. Recent technological advances with indwelling neuromodulators improve clinical function in ALS patients. Clinical trials using focused ultrasound are currently underway to assess noninvasive NM to treat an assortment of neurological diseases. We believe there is the potential to also noninvasively modulate the motor cortex with the goal of improving function in patients with ALS.    

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must hold a faculty appointment as a tenure-track assistant professor or higher rank at award activation. 

Amount Description

A variety of research funding is available based on the type of project. 

  • Preclinical research projects will be funded for one to two years with a budget range of $150,000 to $200,000. 
  • Clinical research projects will be funded for one to three years (with an option to extend based on patient recruitment) with a budget range of $300,000 to $600,000 dependent upon protocol and number of patients.  

Project budgets outside of these ranges will be considered on a case-by-case basis with sufficient justification. All monetary figures are in USD.  

Funding Type