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BGU Student Team Works to Develop New ALS Treatment

BGU Student Team Works to Develop New ALS Treatment

June 7, 2018

Leadership, Awards & Events, Medical Research

Addgene – In this podcast, Kim de Mora sits down with Avital Bailen from the student team at Ben-Gurion University that will represent BGU in the upcoming iGEM competition.

Each participating iGEM team is tasked with devising an innovative solution to an environmental, medical or social problem. The BGU OriginALS team, comprised of 10 undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines, has chosen to focus on a new approach to ALS treatment.

Listen to Bailen discuss what she hopes to learn from the iGEM competition (Episode 18)>>

iGEM OriginALS team members: (From top row left to right) Re’em Malul, Sagi Angel,  Nitzan Keidar, Liat Tsoran, Mor Pasi, Mor Sela, Einan Farhi, Avital Bailen, Daniel Deitch, Ori Tulchinksy

Only 10 percent of ALS cases are familial, meaning that they appear in a certain family lineage. This means that only 10 percent of ALS cases can be studied through genetic mapping, leaving 90 percent caused by unknown reasons.

The OriginALS project focuses on cells that support neurons–the glial cells–rather than the neurons themselves. In this way they aim to develop an approach that will prolong neuron survival and will be immediately applicable to all ALS cases. Additionally, the team’s findings may in the future be applicable to other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.