AFTD Senior Director of Scientific Initiatives Discusses FTD and ALS at 2022 Target ALS Annual Meeting

Photo of Penny Dacks, PhD being interviewed by Steven Schonberg

AFTD Senior Director of Scientific Initiatives Penny Dacks, PhD, discussed the overlapping disease pathology between ALS and FTD during an interview conducted at the 2022 Target ALS Annual Meeting, held May 3-5 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

During the conversation with Target ALS Director of Communications Steve Schonberg, available to watch on the Target ALS YouTube channel, Dr. Dacks explained how the C9orf72 gene mutation causes both ALS and FTD.

“Certain individuals have C9orf72 mutations that can manifest as ALS or FTD or a combination thereof,” Dr. Dacks said. “Behavioral variant FTD and ALS can coincide, and that happens most frequently with families who are affected by the C9orf72 mutations.”

Dr. Dacks explained the science behind how C9orf72 gene mutations affect persons who inherit the gene. As a person with the C9orf72 gene ages, “those causes of damage become more prevalent and it starts to create a chain reaction of damage,” Dr. Dacks noted.

May is ALS Awareness Month and throughout the month, AFTD is raising awareness around an ALS with FTD diagnosis. To aid in the discovery of biomarkers and viable treatments for ALS and FTD, AFTD partnered with Target ALS in 2020 to fund six collaborative projects aimed at assessing promising potential ways to detect — and therapeutic strategies to address — ALS/FTD pathology.

By joining forces, Target ALS and AFTD have leveraged the combined expertise of researchers in two fields, fueling collaboration in support of the most promising ideas. These projects will inform, and potentially result in, both viable treatments and the biomarkers critically needed to enable accurate diagnosis and measure disease progression.

Click here to learn more about ALS and FTD.

Watch the Target ALS interview featuring AFTD Senior Director of Scientific Initiatives Penny Dacks, PhD, here.

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