New Mexicans Can Donate Tax Refund to Research

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rapidly fatal illness affecting approximately 2 people out of 100,000 each year. ALS causes progressive muscle weakness ultimately leading to respiratory failure and death. Treatment of ALS at this point is limited to supportive care with adequate nutrition, devices to assist breathing, and a single FDA approved drug, Rilutek, that has a mild effect on prolonging life. Effective treatment of ALS is desperately needed.

The ALS clinic at the University of New Mexico actively participates in clinical research seeking effective treatment of ALS. The ALS clinic at UNM is one out of 24 Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association certified ALS clinics in the United States, and one out of 34 Muscular Dystrophy Association ALS centers in the US. The clinic is directed by Dr John Chapin who completed his neurology residency at UNM, followed by fellowship training in neuromuscular diseases at the Mayo clinic in Minnesota , and Wake Forest University in North Carolina .

The ALS clinic is currently investigating the benefits of minocycline in ALS as part of a nationwide multi-center trial, and along with Dr Marcus Keep from the UNM Department of Neurosurgery is working towards initiating a clinical trial of cyclosporine delivered directly to the brain and spinal cord by a surgically implanted pump.

Monies received from donations will be used exclusively for research in ALS at the University of New Mexico .

Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322

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