Published on August 22, 2022

Essentia Health added as clinical enrolling site in HEALEY ALS Platform Trial

With philanthropic support from Never Surrender Inc., Essentia Health will become one of about 50 sites participating in the HEALEY ALS Platform Trial, an initiative led by the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS). This groundbreaking perpetual study opened for enrollment in July 2020 and aims to accelerate the development of effective treatments for ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

“We have an excellent team at our ALS Clinic, however, the one thing that we have not been able to offer those in our community is the opportunity to participate in research,” said Dr. Amber Erickson, section chair of neurology at Essentia Health. “We are proud and excited to be able to contribute to the worldwide effort to treat and find a cure for ALS.”

A platform trial is a clinical trial in which multiple treatments are evaluated simultaneously. New treatments are added to the platform as they become available, thereby decreasing the gap in time from identification of an exciting therapy to testing. This model will greatly accelerate therapy development of effective and breakthrough treatments for people with ALS by allowing investigators to test more drugs, increase patient access to trials and reduce costs by quickly and efficiently evaluating the effectiveness of multiple therapies.

“ALS patients and their families are among the most passionate advocates for clinical research,” said Merit Cudkowicz, MD, principal investigator and sponsor of the HEALEY ALS Platform Trial, director of the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS and chief of the department of neurology at MGH. “This type of philanthropic support enables us to expand trial access to these patients and remove many of the geographic barriers that would prevent them from participating. ALS doesn’t care where a person lives, so it’s up to us to do everything possible to reach patients where they are.”

“As a result of living in this part of the country, travel can be challenging,” said David Kolquist, president of Hermantown-based Never Surrender Inc. “Therefore, Never Surrender Inc. is not only excited but proud to provide these cutting-edge research trials to the local ALS patients here in northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.”

Please watch this short video to learn more about the advantages of this trial design.

For more information on open trial sites, visit our website.

Background on ALS

ALS is the most prevalent adult-onset progressive motor neuron disease, affecting approximately 30,000 people in the U.S. and an estimated 500,000 people worldwide. ALS causes the progressive degeneration of motor neurons, resulting in progressive muscle weakness and atrophy. There are currently three FDA therapies approved specifically for treating ALS symptoms. But there is no cure.