USA Today highlights UCI Health neurologist's commitment to finding treatment for ALS

March 03, 2021
Dr. Namita Goyal is a UCI Health neurologist who specializes in treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

IN THE NEWS: A USA Today article about the fight for a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, highlights the work and dedication of UCI Health neurologist Namita A. Goyal, MD, who chose to specialize in ALS treatments. 

"It was something that spoke to my heart right away," she said. "To go through that with one patient, let alone hundreds and hundreds, breaks my heart."

Ryan May, 23, of Huntsville, Utah, started experiencing symptoms while he was on his honeymoon in September 2018. It started with twitching in his legs that eventually spread to his whole body. Within months, May, a former soccer player, was diagnosed with ALS, and enrolled in the NurOwn trial.

May is the youngest patient neurologist Goyal has ever diagnosed. He is in a wheelchair and uses a feeding tube, with limited use of his arms and no use of his legs.

Unwilling to accept the rapid progression from "symptom onset to death," Goyal said she chose to specialize in ALS treatments.

Goyal, an associate professor in the UCI School of Medicine's Department of Neurology and co-director of the UCI Health ALS & Neuromuscular Center, has enrolled patients in about 30 clinical trials over the years. After starting at Massachusetts General Hospital, she is now at UCI Health, where she moved to have greater access to clinical trials on the West Coast. 

She recalls thinking, "There are so many scientific advancements in medicine, how is it possible that a terminal disease has no effective therapy to stop or slow it down tremendously?"

USA Today article: A new ALS drug is extending patients' lives by months. It's giving hope for those facing such a 'brutal illness.'

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