Thomas Jefferson University

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Jefferson Weinberg
ALS Center
Frances and Joseph Weinberg Research Unit


Welcome to the Research Unit of the Jefferson Weinberg ALS Center. The Frances and Joseph Weinberg Research Unit, part of the Jefferson Weinberg is the first and only center in Philadelphia dedicated solely to ALS research. The Weinberg Center was established in 2006, thanks to the generosity of Vickie and Jack Farber, under the auspices of the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University. Its specific mission is to fight ALS using multiple approaches, starting from the basic understanding of how ALS develops to finding effective therapies. It comprises two laboratories that focus on different aspects of ALS pathogenesis, but work jointly with a combined team of 15 people. Projects range from the study of the basic biology of ALS to the identification of therapeutic targets and development of therapies that we test in pre-clinical studies using animal models of the disease. Convinced that sharper focus and synergy are the key to understanding this complicated disease, the two laboratories share common research strategies, tools and, ultimately, information about our findings.

In 2016, the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience, in partnership with The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, opened the doors to a multidisciplinary ALS clinic. The clinic built upon our existing leadership in basic science research, creating a new comprehensive clinical and research integrated center, called the Jefferson Weinberg ALS Center.

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Vickie Farber speaking at Jefferson

"When my dear father, Joe Weinberg, died of ALS almost 50 years ago, at the age of 54, I was totally devastated. It left me with a feeling of helplessness because there was nothing that I could do to help him or to fight ALS. Just watching what ALS was doing to him was unbearable, but he handled all that he went through with grace and dignity! He never once complained over the two years that ALS ravaged everything except his mind. He was just grateful that if it had to happen to anyone, better that it was to him and not any of the rest of us in the family.

This was my primary reason for wanting to establish the Institute, to find the cause and cure of ALS. My prayer is that, in my lifetime, some progress will be made - if not a cure, then something to stop the progression of the disease. Nothing would make me happier!"

-- Vickie Farber