Namesake of ‘Right to Try’ Law Gets ALS Therapy, Says It’s Working

(Bloomberg) -- Matt Bellina, a former Naval aviator who fought to make it easier for Americans to get access to experimental medicines after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, is the first person to publicly disclose he is receiving treatment under the federal Right to Try law named in part for him.

  • Bellina started receiving the therapy, called NurOwn, a month ago. BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. said in June that it would make it available to him under Right to Try.

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  • Bellina said in a post on Facebook that the treatment is already making a difference, improving his core strength, lung capacity, speech and swallowing.
  • President Donald Trump supports allowing patients to use experimental medical treatments, having signed the federal Right to Try legislation into law in May. Bellina’s announcement comes hours before the president’s State of the Union address; Trump touted the legislation in his speech last year.
  • NurOwn is in the third and final stage of clinical trials needed to get U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

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  • Bellina thanked BrainStorm and Chief Executive Officer Chaim Lebovits for following through to make the medicine available to him, saying, “I have been given a gift.”
  • He posted a video of himself pulling himself up from his wheelchair to standing in his Facebook post.

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