Thanks to a gift of $5.3 million from the ALS Society of British Columbia, UBC is establishing an endowed professorship in ALS research.

UBC has committed funding through the President’s Academic Excellence Initiative to support the recruitment of a senior ALS clinician-scientist and bring clinical trials to patients with ALS faster.

“The partnership between the ALS Society and UBC is a historic leap toward meaningful change for all those living with ALS here in B.C. and beyond,” said Dr. Jon Stoessl, professor and head of UBC’s division of neurology. “Patients are counting on us to improve access to treatment, develop new therapies and move closer to a cure for ALS. Local patient participation in clinical trials will be critical to achieving these bold aims.”

For patients with ALS, clinical trials offer hope in the short-term and for future generations. There is a large unmet need in BC and globally to bring forward new therapies to patients as soon as possible through clinical trials. The ALS dedicated clinician-scientist, based at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, will engage the scientific community in ALS research while remaining focused on the immediate needs of ALS patients.

“This collaboration with UBC is an important milestone for the ALS Society of British Columbia as we celebrate the society’s 40 year anniversary. PROJECT HOPE opens the door for future world-class research and clinical trials to benefit the patients and caregivers throughout British Columbia,” says Sheldon Cleaves, President, ALS Society of British Columbia. “This partnership with UBC is an important first step in bringing cutting-edge therapies to continue the fight for a cure for ALS right here in British Columbia. I would like to thank UBC, the BC Ministry of Health and the ALS Society of BC staff, volunteers, donors and directors for their unwavering commitment to see this dream become a reality.”

The ALS Society of BC raised $5.3 to establish the endowed ALS research professorship in collaboration with UBC. This support includes $2.3 million raised directly from ALS patients and their community of supporters, and $3 million from the B.C. Ministry of Health. The balance of the faculty member’s salary will be paid annually by UBC through the President’s Academic Excellence Initiative.

Recruitment of the clinician-scientist dedicated to ALS will begin this fall.

Approximately 400 British Columbians live with ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease where patients typically become unable to move, speak, swallow and breathe as the condition progresses.

This initiative complements UBC’s carefully developed plan for growth through an unprecedented faculty recruitment effort that will significantly enhance the university’s research capacity and impact.