Buffalo becomes first US city with ALS slowing drug

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) - On Friday, Maureen Pye has become one of two of the first people in the U.S. to receive Radicava, an ALS slowing drug. 

"That was my biggest fear, I was on a time frame," Maureen said. She now has the chance to spend more time with her family because of this drug.

The DENT Institute has administered the drug and is the first location in the U.S. to offer it. Radicava is already being used in Japan and South Korea and cannot cure ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The drug has been demonstrated to slow decline of physical function by 33 percent and reduces stress in the body. It was recently passed by the FDA for use in May. 

Maureen Pye was officially diagnosed with ALS in May of this year, and feels incredibly fortunate to be the one of the first people in the U.S. living with ALS to receive the treatment. 

"I'm excited because I really don't have any other options," Maureen said.

Maureen, a mother of two teenage girls, has looked at her situation as a very unique one and hopes others dealing with ALS can see there is hope. 

"Maybe this will help someone else and will give them hope," Maureen said.

In addition to Maureen, 20-year-old Ben Cambria has also received the treatment on Friday. Ben was diagnosed last July.

Ben says he is honored to be one of the first few people to get the drug and his mother, Rebecca Cambria, felt like there was always a bigger picture for her son. 

"I think that it's going to be amazing for him to be able to live the way he wants to live as a 20-year-old in college and we are just eager to get started," Rebecca said.

Maureen and Ben will go through 140 injections over the span of a year. Sessions range from once every 10 days to once every two weeks, with breaks in between. Each injection costs $1,000 totaling approximately $140,000 annually.

The introduction of Radicava is the first ALS related drug in the U.S. in over 20 years and it is giving hope to the six thousand Americans diagnosed with the disease every year. 

For more information on Radicava you can visit their website here.

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