“In 1999, when I was still Director of the ALS Clinic at the Vancouver General Hospital we were honored to host the Annual ALS Symposium organized through the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations, which represents about 60 nations. During the meeting I chaired special 2-hour question/answer session, for ALS patients and their families. About a dozen world-wide ALS physician-scientists participated. The session was designed to push the “hope meter” up by several notches.
It is my firm belief that PROJECT HOPE will push the meter’s dial into overdrive. It is true that meaningful ALS therapy has been elusive, as has been true for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, the other major neurodegenerations. But we are on the verge of a major game change. 21st century understanding of the mechanisms of neuronal cell death in neurodegenerations has opened windows to a spectrum of therapeutic options. Combination therapy is likely to prove most efficacious. Also, and equally important is the search for early markers of disease. Because ALS begins many years and probably decades before it becomes clinically apparent, early pre-clinical detection will allow for rescue of sick cells that are not dead, and thereby prevent motor deficits that are characteristic of ALS.
PROJECT HOPE is ambitious, and its fruition will require major funding. I am delighted and deeply enthusiastic to be part of this unique venture that has created a “marriage” between a disease-oriented society (ALSBC) and a major university (UBC), in addition to the support of the Provincial Government”