Nonprofit CureALS launches to combat ALS, related disorders

AI, funding, partnerships will be used to advance research

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by Mary Chapman |

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A researcher studies samples of fluids on slides placed on a microscope alongside a rack of test tubes and a beaker.

Bill Nuti, the former CEO and chairman of NCR Corporation, is on a mission to eliminate amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Nuti, who stepped away from NCR in 2018 after being diagnosed with ALS, has launched CureALS, a nonprofit that will draw on funding, partnerships, data sourcing, and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve research into progressive neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

The goal is to leverage cutting-edge technologies such as AI and quantum computing to overcome obstacles such as industry silos that have hindered scientific progress toward discovering better treatments or cures for the conditions.

“We are committed to eradicating ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases by leveraging the power of technology, corporate social responsibility, conscious capitalism, and donations from people who care,” Nuti, who spent his entire career in the technology industry, said in a press release. “Through our partnerships with innovative and generous companies, which we will be announcing soon, we will make a meaningful contribution to this cause and demonstrate our commitment to making a positive impact on humanity.”

Despite advances over the last decade, traditional methods of therapeutic development remain slow, underfunded, and insufficiently efficacious, according to CureALS.

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CureALS a ‘beacon of hope’

To address that, the organization seeks to provide funding to promising scientists as well as access to advanced technologies like AI, which is used increasingly in healthcare and other fields, to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.

The nonprofit plans to give researchers access to an AI-driven platform, code-named “Number Four” for the uniform number of New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig, who died in 1941 from ALS. The disease was once commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease and the official launch of CureALS was timed to Lou Gehrig Day, observed annually on June 2 by Major League Baseball.

“CureALS represents a beacon of hope for individuals and families affected by ALS, offering a path toward a cure and shedding light on the future of medical research,” said Ed Rapp, a CureALS advisor who retired from Caterpillar and became an ALS advocate after being diagnosed with the disease in 2016. “Years in industry taught me that great innovation comes from great collaboration. Bill is committed to building an open source, collaborative platform to unravel the mystery that is ALS.”

Nuti said CureALS is “driven by the belief” that sustainable funding and advanced technology will help speed up efforts toward a cure and effective therapies for ALS.

“We invite the most innovative and gifted companies in the world to join us as corporate sponsors, as well as private foundations and caring people to help eliminate the critical research funding gap and provide technology resources that will propel us towards a cure,” he said.