Canada

B.C. government announces $2 million in funding for ALS research

Minister of Health Adrian Dix said the money will mean more clinical trials for ALS will be done in B.C.

File photo of Health Minister Adrian Dix.

The B.C. government has announced $2 million in funding for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix said the money will go to PROJECT HOPE, which will establish an ALS research fellowship at the University of British Columbia.

He said it will mean more clinical trials for ALS will be done in B.C., allowing more residents with the disease to take part in the trials.

Dix said the new ALS-dedicated clinician/scientist will offer patient care and further improve patient outcomes and research, with the goal of increasing access to clinical trials in British Columbia for local patients, Dix said.

“For the first time in nearly a decade, British Columbians living with ALS will soon have a chance to participate in potentially life-changing research close to home,” said Dix.

“For 40 years, the ALS Society of BC has been dedicated to providing support to patients and their families and works to improve the quality of life for people living with ALS.”

Brad MacKenzie, chair of the ALS Society of BC Advocacy Committee, said he is pleased that the government and UBC recognize the need for ALS research at home.

“Now that PROJECT HOPE is successful, British Columbians living with ALS, myself included, should feel proud that we will soon have more local access to cutting-edge, world-class clinical trials for the disease,” said MacKenzie, who is also living with ALS.

The clinician/scientist will work out of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH) at UBC. Scientists at DMCBH also work on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research, which provides an opportunity for collaboration between the study of these three neurodegenerative diseases, according to the government.

Approximately 400 British Columbians live with ALS, which is a fatal neurodegenerative disease where patients typically become unable to move, speak, swallow and breathe as the condition progresses.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

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