NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Answer ALS Foundation today announces two gifts totaling $7 million. Caterpillar Inc. has contributed $4 million and the Stay Strong vs ALS Fund has contributed $3 million. Stay Strong was founded by Ed Rapp, former Caterpillar Group president, who is living with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The gifts will support the aggressive and ongoing Answer ALS research project. Answer ALS is the single largest collaborative and comprehensive ALS research project ever undertaken. It is working to fully understand and set the stage for defeating the disease. Big data, artificial intelligence and an open-source mandate are at the core of the project to drive unprecedented analysis capabilities from over 1,000 research participants, eight leading ALS clinical institutions, nearly two dozen program partners and more than 100 researchers.
"Caterpillar is proud to support Answer ALS and the innovative work they're doing to find a cure for this disease that tragically affects many people, including Caterpillar employees, our dealers, our customers and their families," said Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby. "We believe their work to unite the global research community has the potential to greatly accelerate progress and results."
"My years at Caterpillar taught me great innovation comes from great collaboration, which is what attracted me to Answer ALS shortly after my diagnosis," said Ed Rapp, former Caterpillar Group president. "Supported by the Stay Strong community, we are just trying to make a difference in what is a tough disease."
ALS is a devastating, progressive and fatal neuromuscular illness for which there is no effective treatment. In ALS, gradual degeneration of motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord causes increased difficulty swallowing and breathing, and eventually leads to paralysis. A new person is diagnosed with ALS every 90 minutes in the United States with an average lifespan of two to five years from diagnosis.
"This is an unprecedented approach to understanding and defeating the disease," said Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein, director of the Brain Science Institute and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University and the executive director of Answer ALS Research. "An exciting and important focus with this massive project is that all of this data is being made publicly available with open access to ALS researchers worldwide so that we can make faster and greater strides together to find a treatment or cure for this disease."
This research project could also provide a deeper understanding of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
About Answer ALS: Answer ALS is the single largest and most comprehensive ALS research project in history, producing more ALS data than has ever been amassed, while openly sharing with the global research community. We will use that data to investigate the unique pathways of each variation of ALS and begin to develop the right treatments or cure. We believe that only a large-scale concerted and coordinated effort will make the difference in finding the answers to ALS. Answer ALS is an unprecedented approach to understanding and defeating the disease. For more information on Answer ALS: AnswerALS.org.
About Stay Strong vs ALS: Founded by Ed Rapp, former Caterpillar Group president, who is living with ALS. The donor-advised fund is supported by the Rapp family and friends and colleagues from around the world and invests in institutions focused on finding a cure and those bringing improved assistive technologies to those who suffer from the disease. More about Stay Strong vs ALS can be found here: StayStrongvsALS.com.
About Caterpillar: For more than 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2017 sales and revenues of $45.462 billion, Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three primary segments - construction industries, resource industries and energy & transportation - and also provides financing and related services through its financial products segment. For more information, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.
SOURCE Answer ALS Foundation