Breaking Down Barriers for ALS: On the Quest for a Cure

Research Vial that says "For Clinical Trial Use Only"

In order to make ALS a livable disease and ultimately find a cure, we need to increase the number of clinical trials and make it easier for more people to participate in those trials. Increases in clinical trial capacity will allow for potential new therapies to be tested faster and will improve trial accessibility for people with ALS in underserved areas. 

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Dr. Merit Cudkowicz

No one knows this better than Dr. Merit Cudkowicz, Director of the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS and Chief of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Cudkowicz is part of a global team of researchers, clinicians, and families determined to better understand ALS and, by understanding it, find effective treatments.

“This all starts with clinical trials. We need to have more trials with therapies based on great science and make it easier for people to participate. I am grateful to partner with The ALS Association to ensure more people with ALS can access the hope these trials bring. It’s so needed,” says Dr. Cudkowicz.

Dr. Cudkowicz says the Association’s Trial Capacity Awards are just one of the many things helping break down barriers—especially those impacting currently underserved populations—and allowing for potential new therapies to be tested faster and right where patients live. “And the many initiatives to accelerate diagnosis means we will have the ability to identify the disease sooner, and even pre-illness so we can work toward prevention,” she added.

I am an eternal optimist. And I have good reason because this is a time of unprecedented promise for ALS research and drug development.”
Dr. Merit Cudkowicz
Director of the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS and Chief of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital

“I watch the collective genius—patients, families, ALS doctors, nurses, researchers—in an open forum, sharing ideas, working to develop treatments. There’s a lot of collaboration, brilliance, and a lot of passion, and it is how we’re going to get this done,” she said.

Dr. Cudkowicz stresses that the need for continued collaboration and partnership is crucial to finding new and effective treatments for ALS. “For such a devastating illness, we have to work together.”

“The Association’s foundational funding for our HEALEY ALS Platform Trial and close to a decade’s worth of support for the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) provides momentum,” she added. “There are global collaborations happening every day, offering more trials with more patients in better, more synchronized ways.”

“Our partnership is fantastic and has helped move so many initiatives forward faster.” Dr. Cudkowicz says through the Healey ALS Platform Trial, they are cutting the time to finding effective treatments in half, they are cutting the cost by a third and increasing the number of people on active treatment by two thirds.

“That’s progress, and that gives us ALL hope,” she said.

To learn more about the research we fund, click HERE. And get the latest ALS research news from both inside and outside the Association by signing up for our monthly e-newsletter, Research Matters.

To continue to follow stories from people in the ALS community and learn more about the disease, subscribe to receive our weekly blogs in your inbox HERE or follow us at als.org/blog.

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