2018 Annual Meeting Highlights
The 17th Annual NEALS Meeting was held October 2 - 4, 2018 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Over 400 NEALS members, foundation partners, company representatives and ALS researchers came together for research updates, member presentations, an abstract poster session, a science symposium, and numerous networking opportunities. New sessions and events were added to the agenda, including bulbar and ventilation symposiums, a NEALS member/industry partner roundtable, a welcome reception, a new member Q&A session with NEALS leadership, an inaugural industry-partner poster blitz, and a luau/BBQ.
Over 90 abstract submissions were received this year! Elaheh Sajjadi, MS, PT, University of Florida, was awarded the Basic Science Poster Award and James Berry, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital, received the Clinical Poster Award.
The science symposium featured an update from the NEALS Science Advisory Board and talks by leaders in the fields of ALS/FTD and clinical trial design, including: “Untying the Gordian Knot of ALS and FTD – Should We?” Bruce Miller, MD, University of California, San Francisco; "What Should We Do About Cognitive and Behavioral Changes in ALS?" Orla Hardiman, BSc, MD, FRCPI, FTCD, MRIA, Trinity College Dublin; and “Innovative Statistical Design and Analysis in ALS” Christopher Coffey, PhD, University of Iowa.
The NEALS member/industry roundtable event included an open discussion with a panel of industry-partners and the NEALS membership on the evolving landscape of ALS trials. Moderated by Dr. Nazem Atassi, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Jinsy Andrews, Columbia University, the 2018 roundtable discussion was designed to raise important and timely issues around ALS clinical trials in order to generate discussion among clinical trialists, the companies interested in running clinical trials, and the foundations interested in supporting these efforts. The topics discussed included innovative clinical trial designs in ALS trials, potential surrogate markers of disease and functional outcome measures or endpoints, and expanded access programs (EAP) and early introduction of open label extensions (OLE).
Dallas Forshew, RN, BSN, California Pacific Medical Center, received the Lifetime Achievement in ALS Award and Nazem Atassi, MD, MMSc, Massachusetts General Hospital, was recognized for his service on the NEALS Executive Committee. Colin Quinn, MD, University of Pennsylvania, received the first ever UMN Achievement Award for his work on Interuser Reliability of the Penn UMN Score in ALS.