Barrow Opens Groundbreaking ALS Center in Phoenix

New Center Expected to Attract Patients around the Nation

Jan 16, 2014, 13:10 ET from Barrow Neurological Institute

PHOENIX, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix have announced the opening of a new groundbreaking center expected to bring Arizona to the forefront of research and medical treatment for one of the world's most devastating and debilitating diseases -  ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The Gregory W. Fulton ALS and Neuromuscular Disorders Center at Barrow is expected to become a national leader in clinical research. The 32,000-square-foot facility was primarily funded through the support of Ira A. and Mary Lou Fulton, whose son Gregory Fulton died from ALS in 2011. The Fulton's donated $2.7 million to Barrow Neurological Foundation in 2011 for the creation of the center.

"This new center will provide our patients with the latest comprehensive medical services to improve the quality of life for patients and their family members, and will pave the way for the future of ALS research," says Shafeeq Ladha, MD, clinical director of the Gregory W. Fulton ALS and Neuromuscular Disorders Center at Barrow. 

In addition to ALS, the center will provide treatment for other neuromuscular disorders including muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and neurodegenerative disease in which the cells that control voluntary muscle movements die, leading to paralysis and, ultimately death. Scientists don't yet know what causes ALS and there is no cure. There is just one FDA-approved medication that slows disease progression and it is only marginally effective. Most individuals die from ALS within three to five years from the onset of symptoms. The researchers at Barrow's Gregory W. Fulton ALS and Neuromuscular Disorders Center expect to change that.

"We have created a new integrative approach that will allow the center to develop and test new treatments quickly," says Robert Bowser, PhD, director of the Gregory W. Fulton ALS and Neuromuscular Disease Research Center at Barrow and one of the nation's leading ALS researchers.  "We believe that we will be leaders in bringing new drugs to the forefront," says Dr. Bowser. "Some of these will be tested for the first time ever on patients at our center."

SOURCE Barrow Neurological Institute