In September, we shared with you the exciting news that AMX0035, a trial ALS treatment drug developed by Amylyx Pharmaceuticals that had just completed the phase 2 trial, showed a statistically significant benefit to people living with ALS. This promising news lead The ALS Association and I AM ALS to launch a petition asking the FDA and Amylyx to work together to make AMX0035 available to the ALS community as soon as possible.
And while the news of a possible significant benefit to people living with ALS has created much optimism in the ALS community, the story doesn’t end there. All patients who completed the Phase 2 study were eligible to enroll in an “open label extension” (OLE) study to receive AMX0035 with no placebo comparator for up to an additional 30 months. Out of the 98 participants who were eligible for OLE enrollment, 92 percent (or 90 participants), opted to enter the OLE.
The primary goal of an OLE is to gather information about safety and tolerability of the new drug in long term, day to day use outside the trial environment, but they also can and do provide information on the effectiveness of the drug being tested. In this case, those findings make an even more compelling case for providing AMX0035 to the ALS community while Phase 3 trials take place, not after.
Continue reading More Encouraging News about AMX0035—And Still time to Sign the Petition to Make this Promising Treatment Available as Quickly as Possible
In a lot of ways, the origins of the “town hall” meeting are uniquely American. Sure, community gatherings have been happening from the time there have been communities to gather, but since the early days of colonial America, the gathering of a group of concerned individuals to be updated on current events has been a time honored tradition that persists to this day across the country. The idea has become so much a part of us that we don’t think twice that “town hall” can easily refer as much to a meeting as it does to a building.
But just because the town hall concept is old doesn’t mean it has stayed the same, and in 2020 when nothing seems normal the concept has had to evolve even more. What might have in the past been in-person gatherings have become virtual, expanding the scope and reach even further. But the basic idea of gathering a community to be updated on current events remains.
In just such spirit, our Chapter hosted a virtual town hall meeting in September to discuss the current state of ALS care services, research, and advocacy. Members of our community were able to hear from experts in these areas and ask question to the speakers. The full 90 minute recording is available for all to view.
Continue reading ALS Virtual Town Hall Brings Community Together
These days, it seems everything is “news.” Or at least there needs to be enough “news” to fill the 24 hour news channels, your Facebook and Twitter feeds, and who knows how many website devoted to covering the “news.”
But in a time when everything claims to be “news,” it can be hard to tell when something genuinely newsworthy occurs. When we really ought to break out the “Breaking News” banners and pay attention.
For the ALS community, just such an event took place earlier this month, when the New England Journal of Medicine published encouraging clinical trial results showing that Amylyx Pharmaceuticals’ AMX0035 brought statistically significant benefit to people living with ALS. The study showed that AMX0035 decreased the rate of decline in the Revised ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS-R). The trial included 137 people with ALS and was conducted across 25 top medical centers through the Northeast ALS (NEALS) consortium.
People with ALS who received AMX0035 performed 2 points better on the ALSFRS-R compared to those who received the placebo. This is a statistically significant result, and in the real world could mean the difference between a person with ALS being able to feed themselves versus being fed, or the difference between needing a wheelchair versus not needing one.
Continue reading New Drug Treatment Shows Significant Benefit for People with ALS
The ALS Association funds millions of dollars in research every year, in a variety of scientific focus areas critical to advancing the search for treatments and a cure for ALS. In the nearly 150 years since ALS was first described in 1874, the search for new treatments and a cure has been frustratingly slow. However, the last decade has seen promising acceleration in progress, and in the last few years, five genes related to ALS have been identified. The ALS Association is currently funding a total of 169 active research projects in 16 different focus areas, and for everyone involved, critical discoveries cannot come soon enough. The promise shown in ongoing biomarker research gives reason for hope.
Continue reading ALS Biomarker Research — One More Reason to Hope
We’ve written before here about how there are real, tangible discovers being made in ALS research, but for everyone involved the pace of discovery can’t move fast enough. As such, when a new idea presents itself that has a real chance to move the needle it worth noting. Such an idea is taking shape right now with the first ALS platform trial at The Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Continue reading Adding to Research Momentum—The First ALS Platform Trial Takes Shape
It’s the time of year where you almost can’t help looking back. In a few short days 2019 will be no more. The year has been one of milestones and new beginnings for us here at the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter, and while we are looking back we wanted to include you and remember what a year it’s been.
Continue reading The Year That Was—Looking Back
First, the obvious: everyone wishes there were more
effective ALS treatments found already. Progress is being made, with five new genes discovered and
two new treatments in the last five years—we are closer than ever to the possibility
of a cure. But, even as we talk about how there have been real, tangible
discoveries in ALS research, we cannot yet point to a reliable treatment to
dramatically slow progression of the disease, let alone a treatment that stops
progression or acts as a cure. It is heartbreaking for people with ALS and
But for people with ALS, there is an active role they can
take in fighting the disease: by participating in a clinical trial. For while
the search new therapies begins in the laboratory, where ideas for new
treatments are tested in cell cultures or test tubes, if a treatment shows
enough promise it must eventually be tested on the intended end user, meaning
human beings—living, breathing people.
Continue reading A Clinical Trials Primer
From the outside, research can seem like an endless process.
As much as we all yearn for the “AH HA!” moment of discovery, more often than
not the gains from any sort of research are incremental. Not so much finding a
needle in a haystack as a slow, methodical, documented labeling of this piece
of hay, then this piece, then this piece….As Thomas Edison said about the
process of researching and creating the lightbulb: “I have not failed 10,000
times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000
ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will
find the way that will work.”
ALS research has proven to be just such a challenge to the
best minds in the medical and scientific communities. But recent advances are
creating excitement about new ideas and opportunities, aided in no small part
by the influx of funding created by the Ice Bucket Challenge. With all that is
going on, we wanted to take a moment to look at what is happening in ALS
research—to see what is new, what is promising, and what the future may hold.
Continue reading ALS Research—The Pace of Discover Is on the Rise
When it comes to treating symptoms associated with ALS, people will try a variety of methods to see what will work best for them. Among those options is medical marijuana, or cannabis. Although this can be a controversial treatment method depending on where you live and your outlook on the drug, some people with ALS believe the benefits provided by cannabis makes it easier to live with ALS. Here’s what you should know about cannabis and ALS treatment.*
Continue reading Using Medical Marijuana to Treat ALS Symptoms
It is a known fact that frontotemporal degneration (FTD) is connected to ALS and complicates an already difficult diagnosis. In light of World FTD Awareness Week, here are more details on the connection between ALS and FTD. Republished with permission from The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFD).
The discovery in 2011 that the C9orf72 gene mutation can cause both FTD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has transformed a long held belief that ALS is ‘purely’ a movement disorder and that FTD is ‘purely’ a cognitive or behavioral form of dementia.
It is now recognized that the C9orf72 gene is the most common gene causing hereditary FTD, ALS and ALS with FTD. We now know that several other genes can also cause both diseases. FTD or frontotemporal degeneration is a progressive brain disease with changes in behavior, personality, and language dysfunction due to loss of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease with loss of upper (located in the brain) and lower (located in the spinal cord) motor neurons that leads to paralysis, dysphagia, dysarthria and eventually respiratory failure.
Continue reading ALS and Frontotemporal Degeneration