UC Joins Northeast ALS Research Consortium

NEALS collage

The University of Cincinnati has been admitted into the Northeast Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Consortium, an international research collaborative based in Boston that includes more than 100 members. Membership in the consortium, also known as NEALS, positions the UC Health ALS Clinic for acceptance into ALS clinical trials and will enable the clinic to bring the most current clinical ALS research to the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky region.

“This will allow the UC team to be able to offer not only the most current clinical treatments, but also innovative ways for the ALS community here in our region to be able to contribute to the fight against this disease,” says Robert Neel, MD, pictured above, a UC Health neurologist and Director of the ALS Clinic, which is part of the UC Neuromuscular Center.

“We have begun screening dozens of potential ALS studies and are seeking to participate in promising studies that are actively recruiting,” Dr. Neel adds. “We have already been invited to participate in our first national study through this collaboration.”

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord. It is considered an “orphan” disease because of the relatively small number of people – about 5,600 in the United States — who are diagnosed with it each year. As a result, clinical trial opportunities have been relatively scarce, and the most promising national trials fill up quickly.

The UC Health ALS Clinic, which is held two half-days per month at the Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care, provides patients and their families with comprehensive care from a physician and therapists during a single, 3- to 4-hour visit.

NEALS was founded in 1995 with nine academic clinical centers in the New England area. With help from the ALS Association and generous donors, NEALS membership has grown to more than 100 research centers across North America, Ireland and Israel. Together, these institutions are committed to performing research in ALS and motor neuron disease.

— Cindy Starr

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