Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative ailment that attacks neurons in the brain and spinal cord and severely weakens muscles, including the diaphragm muscles that control breathing. It is invariably fatal and has no known cure. The sole approved therapy, the drug Rilutek, is only modestly effective. The ALS Therapy Development Institute (als.net) was founded in 1999 to develop therapies to slow and stop ALS. Located in Cambridge, Mass., the institute is the world’s largest ALS research center, with a unique, industrial-scale platform for testing dozens of potential therapies every year.
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