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Spring brings new beginnings - a year of HOPE

Hello Angel Fund Family!

Welcome Spring!

We're looking forward to a wonderful year of hope and new discoveries in ALS research. We are blessed with such wonderful and special supporters who host, participate or donate to The Angel Fund to help us in the fight against ALS. Our dedicated researchers go above and beyond to find a cure for ALS and have made incredible progress in unlocking the cause of ALS. These breakthroughs allow us to believe a cure is truly closer than ever.

We have a busy season coming up. We hope that you join us and Step Up To Cure ALS as we fight together to cure ALS.

Help us cure ALS. Donate today.

Research at UMass Chan Medical School

Did you know that there are 13 labs at UMass Chan Medical School that are are working on ALS research?

These dedicated researchers collaborate to find a treatment and cure for ALS.

We want you to know about the research that is happening at UMass Chan Medical School. Our researchers and their labs are featured on our website and in our newsletters.

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Alteration of protein citrullination and its effects

on protein function in ALS

By Dr. Zuoshang Xu

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Protein citrullination is a type of post-translational modification (PTM) on proteins. PTM is catalyzed by enzymes after proteins are synthesized and achieved by the addition or removal of moieties on one or multiple amino acids in the protein. For example, phosphorylation is catalyzed by a class of enzymes called kinases and adds a phosphate group to certain amino acids. Citrullination is catalyzed by peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs), which remove the ketimine group from the amino acid arginine and replace it with a ketone group. These modifications change charges at the modified amino acid positions. For example, phosphorylation adds negative charges; citrullination removes positive charges. The charge changes can alter interactions between amino acids within the protein and interaction with other proteins, resulting in modulation of protein function. In physiological conditions, cells conduct PTM to regulate protein functions to meet their needs in response to various functional requirements. In pathological conditions, cellular functions often go haywire, and PTMs become dysregulated. The dysregulation leads to a disconnection between cellular functional needs and PTM, causing some PTMs to become detrimental to the health and functioning of the cell.

In neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and ALS, PTMs are altered. Some of these PTMs have been intensely studied. For example, tau is a protein that forms toxic protein aggregates in AD. Tau is heavily phosphorylated to an abnormal degree both in the amount and amino acid positions. Phosphorylation at some amino acids has been shown to increase protein aggregation and its toxicity to neurons.

These research results have been used to design therapeutics targeting phosphorylated tau. In addition, phosphorylated tau has been used as a disease biomarker for diagnosis of AD and evaluation of AD progression in clinical trials.

Protein citrullination has also been shown to be increased in AD, PD, and other neurodegenerative conditions. However, whether similar changes occur in ALS is not known. Furthermore, how changes in protein citrullination affect the neurodegenerative process is also not understood. To answer these questions, our lab and Dr. Paul Thompson's lab at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology, University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, have joined forces and began to investigate protein citrullination in ALS. We initiated our research in two mouse models for ALS. Our results show that protein citrullination is increased dramatically in these mouse models. The increase is correlated with the disease progression and is colocalized with the areas of neurodegeneration in the central nervous system (CNS). Additionally, at the cellular level, there is a divergence between the neurons and glial cells. Whereas citrullination is dramatically increased in astroglia, it is decreased in neurons. Most strikingly, citrullinated proteins are almost exclusively accumulated in the protein aggregates, suggesting that citrullination may drive protein aggregation, thereby promoting the disease progression.

Currently, we are conducting studies on human ALS samples to verify the findings from the mouse models. Our preliminary results suggest that similar changes in protein citrullination also occur in human ALS. Our future studies will determine what the roles of protein citrullination are in ALS and whether protein citrullination changes can be used as biomarkers for ALS diagnosis and clinical trials.

Go to Dr. Xu's lab website.


Research updates

The Angel Fund supports ground breaking research.


We are proud to say that of funds expended, The Angel Fund donates 92% to ALS research. 

Meet The Angel Fund Boston Marathon Team

The Angel Fund has four amazing runners who have taken on the challenge to run 26.2 miles in this year's Boston Marathon to raise funds for ALS Research. We are proud to say that they represent the Fund and thank them for for Stepping Up To Cure ALS.

You can donate and learn more about our marathoners by clicking on their names below.

Good luck to all our runners on Marathon Monday!







The Harpoon 5-Miler is Harpoon's annual road race to benefit The Angel Fund for ALS Research. This is our 21st Annual Harpoon 5-Miler since our first race in 2002! To date you've helped us raise $2.37 million for The Angel Fund.


May 22nd


We are so excited to welcome you all back to Harpoon Brewery on Sunday, May 22nd for a long-awaited in-person 5-Miler after 2 years virtual! We will have a virtual option available for all our friends of Harpoon who cannot make it in person.

Register today!

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The 24th Annual Jimmy Kennedy Memorial Run for ALS, (the Squirrel Run XXIV), a 5-mile run, 2.5-mile fitness walk and family fun day which will be held on Saturday, June 11th at Pageant Field, Merrymount Parkway in Quincy.


June 11th

Proceeds from the Squirrel Run will benefit The Angel Fund for ALS Research. Jimmy Kennedy lost his courageous battle with ALS in 1997 at the age of 31.

Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are welcome to participate in the 5-mile run and 2.5-mile walk that begins with registration at 8 a.m. The 2.5-mile fitness walk starts at 9 a.m. followed by the 5-mile run at 10 a.m. Childrens events begin at 11 a.m.

Register today!

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The 19th Annual Sharon Timlin Memorial Event: A Race to Cure ALS  will be held as both an in-person and virtual event for runners of all ages on Saturday, June 18th at Hopkinton High School.


June 18th

The popular road race and family fun day benefits The Angel Fund for ALS Research and its research at UMass Chan Medical School. The race has raised more than $2 million for ALS research since its inception.

Join us as we Step Up to Cure ALS with a 5k race, kids run, and family fun day that has something for everyone - all to benefit The Angel Fund for ALS Research. To date, we have raised over $2 million for critical research at UMASS Chan Medical School.

Register today!



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SEPTEMBER 10, 2022

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OCTOBER 8 & 9, 2022

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2022

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OCTOBER 15, 2022

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