Finding new treatments: Northland lawmaker taking part in local ALS study

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 9:56 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) -After being diagnosed with ALS in July 2021, Minnesota state Senator David Tomassoni is taking part in a new clinical trial looking for better treatment options.

“I hope that my participation in the study will in some small way contribute to the discovery of new treatments for ALS afflicted people,” Tomassoni said via a statement.

Essentia Health is hosting the Healey ALS Platform Trial, a program founded at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The one aspect of care that we haven’t been able to offer those right in our area at home with ALS is the opportunity to participate in research,” Dr. Amber Erickson, Chair of Neurology at Essentia said.

The trial tests multiple forms of treatment at once, making it faster and more accessible than traditional research. It’s an opportunity ALS patients in the Northland haven’t had before.

“We’re going to make sure that people in the Northland have access to the most cutting edge treatments and care.” Dr. Merit Cudkowicz, the lead investigator of the program and Chief of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital said.

Northland ALS Fundraising organization Never Surrender was a big factor in bringing the trial to Duluth.

“It’s about bringing the latest and the greatest trials and therapies to ALS patients in this area,” said Never Surrender president David Kolquist.

For Tomassoni, the trial is about making progress toward successful treatment.

“Giving people the chance to have a good quality of life while living with ALS is paramount,” he said. “Hopefully the results of the Healey study will contribute to that goal.”

One of Never Surrender’s biggest ALS fundraisers, the Blackwoods Blizzard Tour begins next week.

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