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Man from Hood River first to receive groundbreaking medication

<i></i><br/>Terry Smith is the first person in the country with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) to receive a newly approved drug on June 13.

Terry Smith is the first person in the country with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) to receive a newly approved drug on June 13.

By Paulina Aguilar

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — A man with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) from Hood River became the first person in the country to receive a newly approved drug on Tuesday.

The drug, Qalsody, was approved in April and could be a groundbreaking treatment for ALS.

Terry Smith was diagnosed with ALS in November 2021. He is part of the 10% of those with ALS with a specific genetic component and he’s part of the 2% that have SOD 1 gene mutation. This made him qualified to receive the very first injection of Qalsody, a medicine that could slow down the progression of ALS. Smith says trying any new medicine is scary but is willing to take a chance.

“It’s more positive to me than a negative, I’m just ready to do this and make the most of it,” says Smith.

First, they must take out spinal fluid to prevent any headaches he may get later on. Then, inject the medicine.

“You inject it into the spinal column, and then the SOD1 protein, it stops the production of that in the spinal fluid,” says Providence Nurse Practitioner, Lauren Brown.

After the procedure, Smith remained in good spirits

“It’s amazing. I feel so honored really you know there’s been a lot of test trials that have gone on to get to this point,” says Smith.

“If we were to look at the spinal fluid itself, we would see that the SOD1-protein and the Neurofilament concentration will both lower,” says Brown.

Though there is no cure for ALS, this is a step in the right direction and buy him more time with his family.

“I really have faith in the science of it all,” says Smith. “I’m willing to take that chance to see what happens.”

Providence says they’re expecting more people to receive this injection later this year.

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