$2.5-million gift bolsters ALS research at Western

Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry is poised to make greater advances in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research than ever before, thanks to a substantial $2.5-million gift from the Temerty Foundation.

This investment establishes the Temerty Foundation RGNEF Research Fund for ALS, and will be used to implement a three-year study with an international team of researchers, collectively led by Distinguished University Professor Dr. Michael J. Strong out of his lab at the Robarts Research Institute.

Strong, who has published over 165 peer-reviewed articles and won multiple international awards for his ALS research, will lead experts from Canada, the U.S. and Italy. This international collaboration will focus its work onthe role of specific proteins in helping to stop the degeneration of individual motor neurons, which are responsible for driving the function of muscle.

The team will work towards the development of treatment models and therapeutic trials that could improve the lives of, and provide relief for, tens of thousands of ALS patients and caregivers worldwide.The work could also lead to enhanced clinical practice guidelines that improve patient care across the province and around the globe.

“We have made major advances in our understanding of ALS and reached a point in our research that heralds a new era in the development of a specific treatment,” said Strong. “The future of this type of work is dependent on support and generosity like that of the Temerty Foundation. This gift enables us to continue moving forward, hopefully to the great benefit of society.”

The gift, combined with a previous $5-million donation in 2014, brings the Temerty Foundation’s total investment in Western to $7.5 million, making them one of the most generous donors to the Be Extraordinary Campaign.

“We have always looked for opportunities to make a difference by supporting the best research at the best institutions,” said Jim Temerty, founder and chairman of Northland Power Inc. “We’re thrilled to invest in Western’s outstanding ALS research, and to foster international collaboration to further strengthen the team.”

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – remains one of the most devastating diseases of our time. Affecting individuals in the prime of their lives, the disease process underlying ALS leads to a profound, progressive loss of all muscle bulk and control. Those diagnosed typically have an average life expectancy of just three to five years. To date, there are no therapies to arrest or even slow its progression.

“This incredible gift enables Western to support and advance some of our most promising research in the field of ALS,” said Western President Amit Chakma. “We are extremely grateful to the Temerty Foundation for their ongoing support and for their confidence in our researchers’ ground-breaking work.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Crystal Mackay, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.933.5944, crystal.mackay@schulich.uwo.ca @CrystalMackay


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