Message from the Minister of Health – ALS Awareness Month
June 1, 2023 | Ottawa, Ontario | Canadian Institutes of Health Research
June is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Awareness Month in Canada. It’s a time to raise awareness about the devastating disease that is impacting the 3,000 Canadians living with it and their families.
ALS is a relentlessly progressive, fatal motor neuron disease that eventually leads to the loss of the ability to move, speak, and breathe. This disease can move with startling swiftness: four out of five people die within two to five years of their diagnosis. And it has tremendous emotional, financial, and psychological impact on patients and their families.
Our government is supporting research as part of our commitment to respond to the needs of Canadians with ALS. Since 2017, we have invested more than $40M in research related to ALS through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Currently, CIHR is funding a wide range of ALS research, including a study on the use of a high-fat diet as a potential therapeutic intervention and a project that aims to develop a more precise approach to treating patients that involves the use of molecular techniques, neuroimaging, and artificial intelligence. Other research will help us better understand the breakdown in the connection between motor neurons and muscles in the body that underlie the symptoms of ALS and will lead us to potential new drug targets by uncovering how a specific protein linked to ALS accumulates in the brain.
We also recognize that patients with ALS want access to the latest treatments that may offer help with this devastating disease. On June 10, 2022, Health Canada authorized the drug Albrioza for the treatment of ALS, making Canada the first country in the world to authorize Albrioza for sale. In November 2022, Health Canada granted market authorization for the oral suspension of the ALS drug Edaravone for use in Canada. While this is a positive step forward in the advancement of available treatment options for people living with ALS, there is still more work to do, and Health Canada will continue to review regulatory submissions for ALS treatments as quickly as possible without compromising safety. Through Health Canada, we are also continuing extensive engagement with the ALS community to improve access to the important treatments that patients need.
I want to acknowledge the tremendous work done by the ALS Society of Canada and encourage you to take the time to learn more about ALS and how you can make a difference in the lives of people living with this disease at www.als.ca.
Now is the time to work together towards a future without ALS.
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
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