Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative illness that attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually depriving patients of the ability to control their own muscle movements and leading to total paralysis and (generally) death within 4-6 years after being diagnosed.
According to the CDC, ALS currently affects about 30,000 people in the US alone, with nearly 5,600 new cases diagnosed throughout the country each year.
As a result, CVS/pharmacy has raised more than $30 million in support of ALS research through its annual Advancing Medical Research campaign each June (ALS Awareness Month) in support of medical research such as gene silencing therapies, aimed at stopping the progression of ALS, as well as other degenerative illnesses.
“As a pharmacy innovation company we are committed to helping people on their path to better health, CVS Caremark supports organizations and medical research that address important health care issues,” said Jon Roberts, Executive Vice President for CVS Caremark and honorary chair of the Advancing Medical Research Campaign. “We are dedicated to helping more people understand the impact that this devastating disease has on individuals and families nationwide, and for the past 11 years we have been able to make a significant contribution to advancing ALS research with support from our colleagues at the ALS Therapy Alliance, as well as our
ALS Therapy Alliance is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing ALS research including scientists and clinicians from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard College, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, and Boston University.
“Many of the ALS cases that we understand at the molecular level arise because a ‘sick’ gene makes a toxic protein that kills a cell, but if we can turn off the gene, then the toxicity is ameliorated said ALS Therapy Alliane president Dr. Robert H. Brown, Jr. “We hope that this important research will yield results in the near term and move us toward therapies for human use, and we know that we’re closer than ever before to finding a cure for ALS through the support we receive from CVS/pharmacy and the annual in-store campaign.”
Readers who wish to support the 2013 CVS campaign can donate $1 or $3 at the register in CVS/pharmacy locations through June 29.
To learn more about ALS Therapy Alliance visit www.alstherapyalliance.org. You can also learn more about the disease by contacting the ALS Association – 1275 K St., NW – Suite 1050 – Washington, DC 20005.