ALS : Road to Cure Coming to an End?

Devyn Deschamps, Reporter

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a life altering disease most people know of because of Stephen Hawking. Stephen Hawking lived with the disease for nearly 55 years. However, Hawking was the oldest living person with the disease, helped predominantly by his array of resources that came with being a world renowned astrophysicist. Most who are diagnosed with ALS do not have this luxury; as there is no cure, it’s the game of time. How long can you fight it? 

Understanding the struggle, also consequently means understanding what happens to the body when ALS occurs. Motor neurons spawning from the brain, throughout the spinal cord, into the muscles, physically controlling the whole body. ALS enables for these essential neurons to progressively degenerate until death. While one’s mind is perfectly competent and capable, the body no longer responds to the physical commands. Eventually, so many motor neurons die that essential functions like speaking, eating, and breathing are no longer possible. 

Since the late 1800’s this grueling disease was found in all genders alike, but particularly older males. One being Lou Gerhigs, a baseball player that gave ALS an international standing. Since then, ALS has been widely publicized, with popular fundraisers like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raising upwards of $115 million dollars according to the ALS Association. 

This funding has gone towards the creation of a new drug, AMX0035. This treatment was put into testing soon after the Ice Bucket Challenge, and for three years following was advocated thoroughly. Specifically, 50,000 signatures submitted to the FDA, as well as 14,000 emails sent, and countless meetings in person. This advocacy soon turned into the Food and Drug Association’s approval, preceding the phase 3 completion of the trial. 

This drug isn’t a cure, but it assists in making ALS a livable disease. While finding a cure is the primary aspiration for the ALS association, this drug revolutionizes life expectancy across the board. The funding from the Ice Bucket Challenge also provided support to dozens of treatment and research facilities, including 40 potential treatments according to the ALS Association.

 Through the dedication of scientists across the world, the potential to find a cure to ALS is becoming a near possibility. 

For more information regarding ALS or to contribute to finding the cure, go to