The Helmholtz Virtual Institute “RNA dysmetabolism in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)” was established in October 2012 and is one of over 100 Virtual Institutes that are funded by the Helmholtz Association. In these Virtual Institutes new research collaborations are established that merge the expertise of Helmholtz Centers with German universities and additional associated national and international partners on significant fields of research. The institutes are funded over a period of three to five years with up to 600.000 Euro yearly from the Initiative and Networking Fund.
The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) regards ALS and FTD as neurodegenerative diseases with substantial medical and scientific significance with respect to the mission of the DZNE. Research in this field has been successively expanded; lastly by recruiting Prof. Manuela Neumann to Tübingen in June 2012. Currently, research on ALS and FTD is carried out in Dresden, Munich, and Tübingen. In the Virtual Institute „RNA dysmetabolism in ALS and FTD“, ongoing research at the DZNE was brought together with the internationally recognized competence in the area of ALS and FTD of the Ulm University as well as of the Universities of Strasbourg (France) and Umeå (Sweden). The University Ulm is internationally regarded as one of the most significant clinical research institutes in ALS and FTD, whose expertise ranges from basic research to highly specialized care for patients. Its neurobiobank comprises about 4000 patient-specific cell lines and 1000 blood and liquor samples. Together with the associated partners in Umeå and Strasbourg, one of the worldwide largest biobanks is available for research on ALS and FTD.