By Juli McDonald, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – A powerful wave of hope moving through the ALS community – the FDA has approved a drug for the first time in more than two decades that slows the symptoms of the devastating disease.

Radicava has shown promising signs in Japan – slowing the progression of ALS by 33%. Trials were done on patients in the earliest stages, but anyone living with the disease can take it — including an optimistic Pete Frates. His mother Nancy told WBZ this new medicine totally changes the dynamic of the diagnosis:

“The doctor told us five years ago when Pete was diagnosed, ‘There’s no effective treatment, there’s no cure.’ She looked at me and said, ‘There’s nothing we can do.’”

The existing FDA-approved medicine, Rilutek, extends life by just weeks. Radicava could potentially mean more time – birthdays, graduations, weddings, more life.

frates 1 Nancy Frates Says New ALS Treatment Offers Hope

Pete Frates (WBZ-TV)

“It’s hope! How about that you’ll be around for the next drug? When you put it in context like that – this is going to extend my life. When the next drug comes along I’ll be able to take that too,” Frates said.

It means more time between the painful milestones the disease presents to patients and the people who love them.

fratesnan Nancy Frates Says New ALS Treatment Offers Hope

Nancy Frates (WBZ-TV)

“We would grieve every morning. My husband and I would wake up and say, ‘What is it going to take away from us today? The day he couldn’t hold a pen anymore? When he couldn’t text? One of the more profound days was the day he came into this house and dropped the keys like a mic drop because he knew he couldn’t drive anymore. The day he went into a wheelchair, or couldn’t eat anymore. Breathe anymore. Once ALS patients hit these milestones, they know they’re never going back. The day they go in a wheelchair they know that’s it.”

frates Nancy Frates Says New ALS Treatment Offers Hope

Julie and Pete Frates. (Image Credit: Paul Burton/WBZ)

One of the contributing factors to the drug’s swift approval without a separate U.S. trial was the international attention gained by the BC baseball star and his viral Ice Bucket Challenge.

“The world stood up and said this is no longer acceptable. That is why they approved this drug so fast. We’re very hopeful this is just the first drug in line of more to come,” Nancy Frates added.

Every 90 minutes — a new patient is diagnosed with ALS, and someone dies from the disease. But Nancy Frates says from now on, newly diagnosed patients won’t have to hear ‘There’s nothing we can do.’ Radicava is an option, and an option gives hope.

Comments (4)

    Back in the 1970s and 90s I donated blood to Life Source as frequently as possible. However, in 2000 they contacted me and told me they could no longer use my blood because I had contracted the hepatitis B virus. My doctor told me I probably contracted it through my husband who had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Recently we tried herbal medicine from perfect health herbal medicine home,because they are so many positive testimonies online about perfect health herbal medicine home and am happy to say we got our life back totally. After about 6 weeks on it, we saw remarkable improvement.i went to my doctor to confirm if we are finally cured of chronic hepatitis B and my husband ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) behold it was TRUE,me and my husband was totally cured of both diseases, So viewers my advise is if you have such disease or any other at all you can contact them via
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  2. I have been suffering from amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS) disease for the last three years and had constant pain, especially in my knees. my first sign that something was wrong, was my slurred speech. And then the inability to eat without getting choked, strangled, and coughing.Throughout my three years ordeal, i was able to walk with assistance nothing was really working to help my condition.I went off the riluzole (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis herbal formula i ordered from Health Herbal Clinic, Just 7 weeks into the Herbal formula treatment I had great improvements with my slurred speech, there is no case of constant pain and chest tightness since treatment, visit Health Herbal Clinic official website www. healthherbalclinic. net or email info@ healthherbalclinic. net. This treatment is incredible!

  3. Chloe Ryan says:

    Chloe Ryan
    My dad was diagnosed with ALS. He does not have ALS anymore.ALS herbal remedies i purchased online from Dr Lauren (Good Health Herbs Home) cured my day ALS .pleases anyone out there with ALS,natural herbal remedy is the real things to use, No more toxic medication that clearly state ‘lead to death’. Let real and natural herbal remedy be your medicine. Stay away from vaccines and Dr Lauren for your ALS cure (drlauren @ goodhealthherbshome .com), website
    www .goodhealthherbshome .com

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