University of Pennsylvania Centralized Observational Research Repository on Neurodegenerative Disease (UNICORN)

Study Purpose:

The aim of this study is to create a repository of both cross-sectional and longitudinal data, including cognitive, linguistic, imaging and biofluid biological specimens, for neurodegenerative disease research and treatment.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),  Familial ALS,  Sporadic ALS, Healthy Volunteer, Healthy Volunteer with a Family History of ALS

Study Type:

Observational Study

Study Category:

Study Status:



Not Applicable

Study Chair(s)/Principal Investigator(s):

Murray Grossman, MD University of Pennsylvania ID (11 digit #):


Neals Affiliated?


Coordinating Center Contact Information

University of Pennsylvania
Wei Xu / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) / 215-349-5863
Gabriela Bustamante, BSN, RN / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) / 215-662-3361
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104 United States

Full Study Summary:

The Principal Investigator (PI) at the University of Pennsylvania seeks to better understand neurodegenerative diseases and is continually expanding research efforts and collaborations regarding the factors which may contribute to these illnesses. Investigators seek to better understand the basis of neurodegenerative conditions by creating a multimodal repository, including: clinical data such as demographic characteristics, vital signs and motor scales; cognitive and speech data; neuroimaging data; and biological specimens with associated biofluid biomarkers and genetic data. Investigators pursue acquiring these data from neurodegenerative disease patients, people at risk for neurodegenerative disease due to a family history, and unaffected adults. Targeted conditions include frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), primary progressive aphasia PPA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal syndrome (CBS), familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration (fFTLD), non-amnestic variants of Alzheimer's disease including logopenic progressive aphasia and posterior cortical atrophy, and Lewy body disease. This study aims to collect clinical and cognitive data, imaging data, and biospecimen samples from people whose background can inform research and treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, and make these samples and data available to qualified researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and collaborating academic centers and industry partners.

Study Sponsor:

University of Pennsylvania

Participant Duration:

Estimated Enrollment:


Estimated Study Start Date:


Estimated Study Completion Date:


Posting Last Modified Date:


Date Study Added to

  • Eligibility Criteria


    Female, Male

    Minimum Age:


    Maximum Age:


    Time since Symptom Onset:

    Time since Diagnosis:

    Can participants use Riluzole?


    This protocol will include 3 groups of people:

    • People with a clinical diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease. such as frontotemporal degeneration(FTD), primary progressive aphasia(PPA), Lewy body disease(LBD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS), progressive supranuclear palsy(PSP), corticobasal syndrome(CBS), posterior cortical atrophy(PCA), Alzheimer's disease(AD), Parkinson's disease(PD)
    • People with a family history of neurodegenerative disease who may or may not be symptomatic, and may or may not be mutation carriers such as familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration (fFTLD) or familial ALS,
    • People with no known neurological disease who will provide control data.

    Exclusion Criteria:

    • Anyone who is under the age of 18.
    • Anyone with a condition or in a situation which, in the Investigator's opinion, could confound the study findings or may interfere significantly with a person's participation, including but not limited to neurological, psychological and other medical conditions (such as cardiac, neurosurgical, infectious conditions).
    • Individual participants may be excluded from some, but not all, study procedures for safety reasons when they have a contraindication or at the discretion of the Investigator. For example, persons with metal implants which are not MRI-safe will not be able to take part in imaging, and those on blood thinning medications may not be able to take part in lumbar puncture.
    • Pregnant women; if a woman becomes pregnant during the study, research activities that may increase risk to the patient and the unborn fetus will be stopped until the end of pregnancy, at which point participation can be resumed.

  • Site Contact Information

    University of Pennsylvania
    Wei Xu / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) / 215-349-5863
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
    United States