Gregorio Valdez receives grant to research how to slow ALS

Gregorio Valdez, Ph.D.

Gregorio Valdez, Ph.D.

An early-career researcher at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute has won his first major independent grant from the National Institutes of Health. And if his research pans out, the result could be a therapeutic technique to slow – or even stop – the onset of the most debilitating symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS.

Gregorio Valdez, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, will spend the next three years looking to see whether a specific subset of growth factors may hold therapeutic potential for slowing or even stopping ALS. Known as fibroblast growth factors 7, 10, and 22, these three proteins are heavily involved in the formation of synapses during development. And if Valdez’s hunch is right, the growth factors may also be able to protect and repair neuromuscular junctions, the synaptic connections between nerves and muscles.

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