ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)

ALS (Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that can strike at any age. There is no known cause for ALS, which progressively destroys motor neurons, the specialized nerve cells in the spinal cord that control movement. The disease leads to paralysis not only of the muscles of the limbs, but of the muscles that enable breathing and swallowing. In the majority of cases, the disease progresses rapidly, leading to death within two to five years of diagnosis. A few people–ten per cent– survive ten years or longer. Approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people in Canada are currently living with this devastating disease.

Researchers are probing the possible causes of ALS and looking for ways to restore or regenerate lost motor neurons. Mobility Project researchers are among Canada’s leading investigators of motor neuron genesis and function. They are making progress on a groundbreaking strategy that uses stem cells from a patient’s own skin to engineer new motor neurons.

The ALS Society of Canada funds promising research studies that are probing potential causes and searching for cures. At the same time, ALS Canada supports clinical trials and research and health-care initiatives to improve the functional abilities and quality of life of people living with the disease. ALS Canada and Mobility Project members work in partnership to identify research priorities.

Two U.S.-based organizations–Project ALS and the ALS Association–have also supported Mobility Project researchers' studies over the years.