ALS Canada Research Forum

Every year, ALS Canada brings the Canadian ALS research community together for the ALS Canada Research Forum.  This event is a venue for researchers to share ideas, form new collaborations and connect to the ALS community.

This year, the Forum took place in Toronto, May 1-4 and was attended by the Canadian research community, people living with ALS and their family members, volunteers, donors, ALS Canada staff, two sponsors and ALS Canada board members.

  • Total Research Attendees: 121 (from across Canada – BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec Nova Scotia, New Brunswick)
  • Total Number of scientific talks: 37
  • Participants included junior and senior ALS researchers in basic/clinical fields of ALS research

Post event, ALS Canada conducted an anonymous on-line survey to capture feedback from participants on their overall experience of the Forum.  The responses were positive and confirmed the event was a resounding success.  It met its objective in terms of generating conversations and partnerships amongst the entire ALS Community in the common goal: to find a treatment for ALS.

“There is hope for ALS patients and their family! Every day we are getting closer and closer to finding a cure to ALS! With hard work, collaboration, translational research, I am confident we will eventually find several therapies that will improve the quality of life of patients and treat the disease better. Special thanks to the organizing team, this was again a great success! Congratulations on your efforts, dedication and enthusiasm in making of this event the greatest symposium for the Canadian ALS community!”

Special thanks to our generous sponsors:


An Overview of the Forum

Friday, May 1

  • Annual in-person meeting of the Scientific Medical Advisory Council (SMAC)
  • Annual general meeting of the Canadian ALS Research Network (CALS)
  • Special neurologist discussion on addressing government policy for end-of-life issues
  • ALS Canada Board Meetings and Annual General Meeting
  • Progress meeting of the Canadian ALS Clinical Practice Guidelines Working Group (continued into Saturday morning)

Saturday, May 2

  • Opening session featuring international guest speakers and new Canadian research statistics that demonstrate Canadian impact on ALS in a more scientific way
  • Dr. Stanley Appel, director/neurologist of the ALS Clinic at Houston Methodist Hospital and     renowned laboratory researcher on immune aspects of the disease spoke first – he is a legend in ALS research and care
  • Dr. Richard Bedlack spoke second and dazzled the audience (both scientist and non-scientist) with his presentation on and frank explanation on an issue faced in ALS that has not been historically well addressed – off label treatment fact and fiction
  • Poster viewing and reception (continued throughout the entire weekend)
  • Celebration dinner including;
    • a year in review by Lanny McInnes, outgoing Chair of ALS Canada
    • celebration of the Federations’ efforts over the past year
    • presentations about the research program and forum by Dr. Heather Durham and Dr.     Charles Krieger, outgoing and incoming Chair of SMAC
    • presentation about client services by Cathy Martin with a video of Siobhan Rock
    • presentation by volunteer Cindy Lister and Robin Farrell on the ALS Cycle of Hope
    • presentation of Federal advocacy efforts by Tammy Moore and Brian Parsons towards the CCB
    • special presentation of Brett Yerex Advocacy Award to Brain Parsons for federal advocacy efforts to make changes to the CCB
    • a video montage of researchers doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
    • an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge presentation by David Taylor, Director of Research, ALS Canada

Sunday, May 3

  • 25 presenters  on our heaviest day of scientific content ever
  • Sessions on Clinical ALS Research, Potential Therapeutics for ALS, Immune and Inflammatory Mechanisms of ALS, Molecular Pathogenesis of ALS and a special session of Career Transition Award applicants
  • 8 Career Transition applicants spoke for 10 minutes each about their ambitions and the           projections for their future labs
  • Lunch with clients – two clients and two caregivers gave their perspectives on life with ALS to remind researchers what they’re working for
  • Off site networking dinner for senior investigators at St. Lawrence Market area restaurant and ping pong social outing for junior researchers

Monday, May 4

  • 10 presenters
  • Sessions on Mechanisms of C9ORF72 Pathogenesis, Mechanisms of SOD1 Pathogenesis,   Biomarkers, Health and Nutritional Interventions for ALS
  • Afternoon community discussion on how the ALS  Ice Bucket Challenge funds might assist the national effort to impact ALS research beyond our already established programs

Source: ALS Canada