Phoenix medical center to launch $1M ALS study in fall

Aug 27, 2015, 8:39 AM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

When a patient is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the bad news only gets worse.

“The average life expectancy for someone with ALS, is two to three years,” Dr. Robert Bowser said.

Bowser, of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, underscored the word “average” because the neurodegenerative disease leaves a wide margin for guessing a patient’s true prognosis.

“In reality,” he said, “you can see a patient progress and pass within six months, while other patients might live far longer than a decade.”

That uncertainty has driven Bowser and his team to focus on finding ALS biomarkers that could help with diagnosis, prognosis, and medical intervention.

The biggest obstacle to finding those biomarkers is funding for a large study. “Clinical research is costly,” Bowser said.

Researchers got a big boost with last summer’s ALS Ice bucket challenge. It went viral on social media and splashed $200 million into the national funding stream, with a half-million dollars trickling down to Barrow’s ALS research labs.

“When we got the grant, the Gregory Fulton ALS Center matched that fund,” he said.

Bowser credited Ira and Mary Lou Fulton’s establishing the ALS Center in honor of their son, Greg. That has pushed Barrow into the forefront of ALS research in clinical trials, and likely, “helped land the ALS ice bucket challenge grant.”

With the $1 million, “We’re going to (recruit) about 200 patients and follow them over time,” Bowser said, “with the big question being, how rapidly do these (ALS variations) progress? And, can we identify markers that will denote who is going to progress rapidly and who is going to progress slowly?”

Two years into the three-year study, Bowser estimated important data will surface with clearer bio markers and possible clues help to stop the disease’s progression.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will be adding to the cause: Thursday at 10:15 a.m., they’ll douse themselves in an ice bucket challenge at Chase Field. Then the club will hand over a $10,000 check to help Barrow continue its research.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...

Arizona awarded over $20M in federal funds for school safety

The United States Department of Education awarded $20,826,927 to Arizona as part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
21 hours ago
Registrar Kristen Schmidt takes stock of the painting "Seated Man" by Elaine de Kooning, wife of Wi...
Associated Press

Arizona museum exhibit marks end to de Kooning painting saga

Nobody could have predicted a Willem de Kooning painting stolen in 1985would find its way back to an Arizona museum.
21 hours ago
(Facebook Photos L-R/Kris Mayes for Arizona, Abraham Hamadeh for Attorney General)...

Watch: Arizona Attorney General candidates Kris Mayes, Abe Hamadeh debate

Candidates for Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes and Abe Hamadeh faced off in a debate Wednesday night.
21 hours ago
From left, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (AP Photos)...
Kevin Stone

Arizona GOP leaders push Hobbs to reject referendum blocking school voucher expansion

Arizona Republican leaders want Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to quickly reject the referendum that’s blocking school voucher expansion.
21 hours ago
(Drug Enforcement Agency Photos)...

8 million fentanyl pills seized in Arizona during 4-month DEA operation

The Drug Enforcement Agency said it seized 10.2 million fentanyl pills, the vast majority in Arizona, during a just-completed enforcement operation.
21 hours ago
Kathleen Patterson (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Facebook/Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Are...

Missing hiker found dead at Spur Cross Ranch in Cave Creek

A Valley woman who went missing over the weekend was found dead in the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area on Wednesday morning, authorities said.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Phoenix medical center to launch $1M ALS study in fall