The Les Turner ALS Foundation has made a $10 million commitment to create the Les Turner ALS Research and Patient Center at Northwestern Medicine® to accelerate research and advance patient care in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that often strikes people in the prime of their lives.


The Center will bring together the Les Turner ALS Research Laboratories, the Les Turner/Lois Insolia ALS Center, the ALS tissue bank, and other ALS research, clinical, and education activities at Northwestern under one umbrella.

"Northwestern scientists have made important advances in ALS research, and the foundation's generosity in the creation of the new Les Turner ALS Research and Patient Center will help generate even more significant discoveries related to this yet incurable disease," Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said. "The ice bucket challenge has been a wonderful way to raise awareness regarding ALS. Now, this generous gift will help Northwestern achieve its goal of making the world a better place though biomedical discoveries."

The Les Turner ALS Foundation, a partner with Northwestern for 35 years, has provided support that has led to significant advances from the laboratories of Teepu Siddique, MD, the Les Turner ALS Foundation/Herbert C. Wenske Foundation Professor, and P. Hande Ozdinler, assistant professor of neurology, both at Feinberg.

“We are proud to deepen our longstanding partnership with Northwestern and believe that this commitment will help enhance the exceptional care provided to people with ALS and also further scientists’ understanding of this complex disease,” said Ken Hoffman, president, Les Turner ALS Foundation. 

ALS affects an estimated 350,000 people worldwide, with the average survival for someone affected by ALS being three to five years. In this progressive, neuromuscular disorder, the degeneration of nerves leads to muscle weakness and impaired speaking, swallowing, and breathing, eventually causing paralysis and death.

The Les Turner ALS Research and Patient Center will be a part of the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and will operate under the Institute for Translational Neuroscience at Northwestern Medicine.

This gift comes at a pivotal time for Northwestern. On March 14, the University announced its $3.75 billion fundraising campaign, We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, to address society’s critical challenges and prepare global leaders. The University-wide, multi-year effort will support initiatives across Northwestern. The Campaign for Northwestern Medicine represents $1.75 billion toward the University’s goal.

Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.