RARE Daily

Broken String Enters Collaboration with Francis Crick Institute to Advance ALS Research

May 7, 2024

Rare Daily Staff

Genomics company Broken String Biosciences said that it has entered a research collaboration with the Francis Crick Institute to leverage the company’s proprietary DNA break-mapping platform to investigate the impact of genomic instability in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The collaboration, in part, represents an effort by Broken String to develop novel applications for and expand use of the company’s INDUCE-seq, beyond its established capabilities in gene-editing. It said the work will support diagnosis and treatment of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an area of clinical unmet need, to support improved diagnosis and treatment of ALS.

ALS is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by motor neuron death in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neuron loss in ALS leads to deteriorating muscle function, the inability to move and speak, respiratory paralysis, and eventually, death. More than 90 percent of people with ALS have sporadic disease, showing no clear family history.

While there has been progress to better understand the genes and biological markers associated with the disease, very little is understood about the causes, with current treatment strategies focused on symptom management and slowing disease progression.

The partnership has been secured through the Francis Crick Institute’s Business Engagement Fund, a new initiative supported by the United Kingdon’s Medical Research Council, which is designed to encourage collaborations with small-to-medium sized enterprises and strengthen the Crick’s engagement with industry.

“Our research is focused on exploring how cells repair damage to their DNA, and how failures in this process lead to disease,” said Simon Boulton, principal group leader for the Boulton Lab at the Francis Crick Institute. “We are excited to leverage the INDUCE-seq platform’s unique capabilities in directly measuring and quantifying DNA double-strand breaks, and applying this to deepen our understanding of diseases that have genomic instability as a contributing factor, such as ALS.”

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