Target: Francis S. Collins, National Institutes of Health Director
Goal: Devote more funding to researching treatments for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Diesease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that claims about 5,000 lives in the U.S. each year. With this disease, one’s motor neurons die, causing the patient to lose voluntary control of their muscles, eventually losing the ability to talk, eat, and breathe. A diagnosis of ALS is devastating, as there is no known treatment or prevention for this disease. Most individuals die within 3-5 years of diagnosis.
Although the thousands of people with this disease, and their families, anxiously await experimental treatment options to become widely available, there is not nearly enough funding for the research being done on this disease. ALS is one of the least-funded areas of research by the NIH, with only $44 million allotted to this area of inquiry each year, as opposed to the more than $3 billion spent on HIV/AIDS research, a disease which claims a comparable amount of lives each year. HIV/AIDS patients have treatment options and hope, while ALS patients are not afforded either.
A few select universities are currently investigating promising treatments for ALS that involve the use of stem cells; however the investigative process is too slow, with so few studies being executed. ALS patients may not have years to wait for these experimental treatments to become available to them. Please urge the NIH to provide more funding for more ALS research studies to be carried out so that patients and their families might have hope and a chance to reclaim their lives.
Dear Francis S. Collins,
The NIH currently provides very little funding to research investigating Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), yet this disease is one of the very few diseases left that we know little about, a disease for which we currently have no treatment or prevention options. More than 5,000 Americans are diagnosed with ALS each year, devastating news as most patients die within 3-5 years of their diagnosis. They are given no hope, as no treatment is available to them.
A comparable number of individuals die of HIV/AIDS each year; however research in this area receives insurmountably more funding each year. ALS patients deserve hope, and a chance to reclaim their lives. A few promising studies are being conducted, exploring treatment using stem cells; however ALS patients do not have years to wait for this treatment to be introduced. Research needs to be done more quickly, and more research needs to be executed in order to learn more about this terrible disease and find ways to successfully treat it. Please provide more funding for ALS research, starting now. Time is running out for those diagnosed with ALS.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Frank Gaillard via Wikimedia Commons