ALS Research

At the Loy Stewart and George C. Wendt Institute for ALS Research, we are developing one of the largest clinical trials for ALS research in the nation. The goal of this research is to better understand the cause of this devastating disease in order to develop better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.

Asian daughter with father

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis comes from the Greek language meaning “No muscle nourishment." Often known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a serious progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord involved in controlling voluntary muscle movements. At onset, the disease usually robs patients of the ability to walk, speak, eat, and then progresses to involuntary muscles, which affects breathing. This decline in ALS eventually leads to full paralysis and ultimately, death. A rapidly progressive disease, the average life expectancy is just 2 to 5 years.

What are we researching?

The cause of ALS remains largely unknown and therefore it is extremely challenging to find a cure. Due to the complexity of this disease, properly diagnosing a patient currently requires a “diagnosis of exclusion”. This is a slow, frustrating process that requires eliminating other diseases or health issues. The delay in diagnosis can last for months, even years, often denying patients the opportunity to receive early treatments and resulting in lost time with loved ones.

By expanding on some of the best research in the field, we hope to provide more time to those suffering from this devastating disease. The primary aim of this new research study is to develop a blood-based diagnostic test, allowing physicians to diagnosis patients far sooner than ever before. This diagnostic test will be the first of its kind for ALS.

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