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ST. LOUIS – There are some amazing clinical trials going on in St. Louis to fight disease. The latest is the Healey ALS Platform Trial at the SLUCare ALS Clinic. SLUCare neurologist and neurophysicist Dr. Gahzala Hayat spoke with FOX 2/KPLR 11’s Randi Naughton about the trial.

ALS is a progressive nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. People with ALS ultimately lose their ability to walk, talk, eat, and eventually breathe.

Approximately 5,000 people are diagnosed with ALS every year, and given on average, two to five years to live. Although we don’t have a cure, we do have treatments. The key with any effective ALS treatment is to slow the progression of the disease. There are many clinical trials underway to help identify which therapy – or combination of therapies – can delay the progression of ALS.

For example, the HEALEY ALS Platform Trial, which received the U.S. FDA’s approval earlier this year, is examining three different therapies. This trial model, already proven successful in the cancer field, accelerates therapies’ development not only by allowing the simultaneous evaluation of several therapy candidates, but also by increasing patients’ access to trials. Testing multiple therapy candidates at the same time also decreases costs by rapidly determining the effectiveness of each treatment.

The SLUCare ALS Clinic – the only Certified Center of Excellence ALSA clinic in Missouri – has started enrolling patients in this study, which will begin in a few weeks. Dr. Hayat is hopeful that the HEALEY ALS Platform Trial will open many pathways to treatment and eventually a cure.

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