Patient Conversations About Clinical Development in ALS: Matthew B. Harms, MD


The associate professor of neurology at Columbia University and medical consultant and care center director at the Muscular Dystrophy Association spoke to the importance of staying up on the latest developments in ALS and keeping patients in the loop on that information.

“In ALS, we have the most informed and educated patient population you could possibly hope for. Every day my patients are sending me messages through the portal asking about this or that medication or preclinical data that’s been published.”

The current pipeline for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is laden with therapies being assessed on their potential efficacy in treating the disease, in part thanks to advances made in the field over the last decade. Any time a new therapy enters trials, patients are interested in hearing about it, according to Matthew B. Harms, MD.

Harms, an associate professor of neurology at Columbia University, and medical consultant and care center director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, told NeurologyLive that he keeps his ear to the ground on as much as he can, partly due to his patients’ interest in staying up to date on clinical trial findings and potential options for their treatment. For him, this population of individuals is one of the most connected when it comes to care developments—and he is keeping his eye particularly close to those being made to address neuroinflammation and protein misfolding.

In this interview, Harms shared his experience in having these in-depth conversations with his patients about the latest investigational therapies to enter clinical trials, as well as what in the pipeline he believes to hold the most promise. As well, he spoke to the importance of keeping his patients up to date as part of his day-to-day routine and how it can translate to optimism for his patients—but also keep them grounded about the news they may come across.

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