February 2018 – Research Update from Project ALS

Team Chris Combs Funds Crucial ALS Drug Testing Monies raised by Team Chris Combs fund critical drug testing at Columbia University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School through Project ALS. Team Chris Combs supports the Project ALS Pre-Clinical Core at Columbia which is currently testing four drugs, including an all-new anti- inflammatory, and an FDA-approved cancer drug. The Core, led by Drs. Serge Przedborski and Hynek Wichterle, screens potential therapies in a wide range of ALS models, before delivering the most promising of them to human trial. “With help from Team Chris Combs, we’ve been able to test new, outside-the-box ideas that would otherwise have been difficult to fund. We used stem cell-derived motor neurons to screen a small library of FDA-approved drugs, and we’re now testing several promising candidates from that screen in a mouse model of ALS” said Dr. Emily Lowry, one of the researchers at the Pre-Clinical Core. At Massachusetts General East Campus/Harvard Medical School, neuroscientist Dr. Ghazeleh Sadri-Vakili, one of Project ALS’ newest researchers, is using drugs to target neuroinflammation and innate immunity pathways. Her lead ALS drug is cromolyn sodium, which was originally marketed to treat asthma. Dr. Sadri-Vakili is aggressively testing whether cromolyn sodium extends survival in ALS mice, and demonstrates neuroprotection in other cell- based models of ALS. One of the big pros of this drug is its delivery: through an inhaler. Thank you to all Team Chris Combs supporters for making this research possible!


November 3rd, 2016

Men’s Basketball Staff to Grow Beards in Support of Chris Combs


#beards4chrisALS started to honor Wolfpack baseball alum diagnosed in May
The NC State men’s basketball staff will put away their razors for the month of November and grow beards to raise awareness in support of Wolfpack Club Associate Director Chris Combs who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in May.

“Chris is an amazing person,” NC State head men’s basketball coach Mark Gottfried said. “My staff and I want to show our support to Chris and his family and help in any way we can. We are honored to be part of and hope to follow Chris’ lead in raising awareness to fight this terrible disease.”

The men’s basketball staff will grow their beards through the month of November. Fans are encouraged to participate in the movement by growing their own beard and sharing on social media with the hashtag #beards4ChrisALS.

Fans can visit to donate money towards the fight against ALS. All money donated goes into the Team Chris Combs Fund with Project ALS. Money donated will be used to raise awareness and support critical research to help speed up the process of repurposing FDA drugs and build new clinical compounds to fight the disease.

Combs was a standout on the diamond for NC State from 1994-97. The 6’7″ first baseman hit 42 career home runs and is tied for fifth all-time in career home runs in the NC State record book. The Raleigh native also was a standout on the mound as his fastball reached the mid-90s which led to him being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth round of the 1997 amateur baseball draft. After injuries cut short his career, Combs returned to NC State and has been working with the Wolfpack Club since 2005.

Combs and his wife Gena have three children.


courtesy of


October 4th, 2016

Discussing the courage of NC State Wolfpack’s Chris Combs and his fight against ALS today on CBS News WNCN




October 1st, 2016

Team Chris Combs raised $1,000,000 at last night’s Hope Gala to defeat ALS!



September 28th, 2016

The News & Observer: Former Pack ballplayer refuses to surrender


VIDEO: Former NC State Wolfpack baseball standout Chris Combs, an associate director with the Wolfpack Club, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, in May. Instead of letting it get him down, Combs is focusing on his family and friends and on fighting back against the disease and making a difference. Visit to learn more and to help out.


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July 20th, 2016

Patient 5 for GTAC

Chris has officially been accepted as patient 5 for the GTAC project. On July 26th he visited Dr. Harms at Columbia University for his first GTAC appointment. Everything has since been sent off for gene sequencing and testing.

The Genomic Translation for ALS Clinical care (GTAC) project will involve a combination of next generation genetic sequencing and detailed clinical phenotyping in 1500 people with ALS. The goal of the project is to provide a basis for the development of precision medicine, or more individually tailored therapies for ALS.

The project, officially announced on August 18th, 2015, is funded through a $30 million strategic alliance between Biogen and CUMC, and $3.5 million from the ALS Association that was raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge.

“This study will help in developing a detailed understanding of how different genes contribute to different clinical forms of ALS. This will in turn help us design better, more focused clinical trials for the development of more effective treatments,” said Tim Harris, senior vice president of precision medicine at Biogen, in a statement.

More information on the GTAC project can be found: