ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a multisystem neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects motor neurons, the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement. The loss of motor neurons causes the muscles they control to become weak and then paralyzed. Death, which can occur as early as three to five years after diagnosis, usually is due to respiratory complications caused by paralysis of the muscles used in breathing.
MDA is the world leader in funding ALS research. Its worldwide program supports research efforts ranging from basic (early-stage) science, to preclinical testing and therapy development, to human clinical trials. Since its inception, MDA has dedicated $324 million to ALS research, services, education and advocacy programs.
Current MDA-supported ALS research is focusing on several areas, including:
Other critical MDA-funded ALS research contributions include:
As you will see in this report, ALS has so far resisted the best efforts of decades of dedicated researchers. But the disease is slowly giving up its secrets. MDA continues to be inspired by the words of the late Michael E. DeBakey, world-renowned heart surgeon and an MDA national vice president, who said, “There are no incurable diseases. There are only diseases for which no treatment has yet been developed.”