Dr. Erik P. Pioro will lead PROJECT HOPE for ALS Society of BC

Contact: Wendy Toyer
Executive Director, ALS Society of BC
604-278-2257 Ext. 222
[email protected]

August 29, 2023

Dr. Erik P. Pioro will lead PROJECT HOPE for ALS Society of BC.

RICHMOND, British Columbia – ALS Society of British Columbia and its community of donors and patients believe we are at the crossroads of unprecedented hope. With many promising ALS therapies currently in late-stage clinical trials, and the UBC Faculty of Medicine poised to accelerate translational research, it is a critical time to invest in building research capacity in ALS right here in BC. 

The ALS Society of BC, in partnership with the Province of BC, contributed $5.3M to establish the ALS Society of BC Professorship in ALS Research. The ALS Society of BC has also committed a further $1.5M over 10 years to support the professorship.  

The Professorship will strive to create an optimal environment integrating research and clinical care. It is our common goal to now work towards creating an environment to improve clinical care by accelerating cutting edge ALS research and treatment breakthroughs at UBC. To that end, the ALS Society of BC pledged to donate an additional $20M to UBC to support this ambitious goal. It is our shared hope that this will benefit all Canadians living with ALS as well as other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The ALS Society of BC is pleased to announce Dr. Erik P Pioro has been recruited by the University of British Columbia to take the lead for PROJECT HOPE as professor.  

Dr. Pioro will start on March 1, 2024.

Dr. Erik Pioro stands beside Jan Bruce with the PROJECT HOPE thermometer banner sign between them.
Photo: Jan Bruce (left) with Dr. Erik Pioro (right)

“I am honoured to take the lead for PROJECT HOPE. We will work diligently to create opportunities for persons living with ALS to have access to clinical trials here at the University of British Columbia. Our goal for ALS research at UBC is to become a leader not only nationally but also internationally,” stated Dr Erik Pioro. “We look forward to collaborating with our clinicians and researchers working on other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, frontotemporal dementia, and Parkinson’s since we will now all be located at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC.”

Dr. Erik Pioro

Dr. Dermot Kelleher

“I am delighted that Dr. Pioro is joining the UBC Faculty of Medicine to provide leadership and catalyze research collaborations that will accelerate the development of lifechanging treatments for people with ALS,” says Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President, Health at UBC. “Dr. Pioro brings decades of experience caring for thousands of people with ALS and conducting leading-edge research spanning the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in ALS to clinical trials of novel therapies to slow the progression of a disease that harms far too many lives in B.C. communities and globally. This truly is a hopeful step forward on our path to curing ALS.”

Dr. Dermot Kelleher

Dr. Lynn Raymond

“Dr. Pioro’s extensive expertise in motor neuron diseases and strong background in neuroimaging will complement our team of talented clinician-scientists who are working on research and treatment for ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders,” says Dr. Lynn Raymond, Director of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. “His leadership will not only strengthen translational research but also improve patient care and enable expanded access to clinical trials in British Columbia. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Pioro to the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health as we continue to advance brain health across the lifespan.”

Dr. Lynn Raymond

About ALS BC: The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of British Columbia (ALS BC) was founded in 1981 by Dr. Andrew Eisen, ALS patients and family members to meet the physical and emotional needs of people living with ALS and their caregivers. Our mission is to cure ALS through funding research, while advocating for and supporting people living with ALS.

PROJECT HOPE: During 2019-2021, in partnership with the Province of BC, University of British Columbia and donors, $5.3 Million was raised to establish the ALS Society of British Columbia ALS Research Professorship at UBC. The ALS Professorship will strive to create an optimal environment integrating research and clinical care. An initial goal of $20M has been set, funded in part from the proceeds of the Move to Cure ALS.

About ALS: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects the person’s motor neurons that carry messages to the muscles resulting in weakness and wasting in arms, legs, mouth, throat and elsewhere. Typically, the person is immobilized within two to five years of the initial diagnosis. There is no known cause or cure yet, but there is hope through the ALS Society of BC.