Healthy Living: Daughter of boxing great Ali backs effort to expand neurodegenerative disease research
Rasheda Ali, daughter of world champion boxer Muhammad Ali, recently discussed her family's ongoing fight to help raise awareness about Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Kafi Drexel has more.
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One of nine children of world famous boxer Muhammad Ali, who just celebrated his 70th birthday in January, it's clear where Rasheda Ali gets her drive.
"My dad is quite a role model for us. Certainly when he was first diagnosed in the mid-80s, we didn't have the answers we have now," Ali said. "Certainly he was probably taken aback and disappeared from the limelight for a little while so that he can figure out what it is he has. Once my dad was able to accept what he has, then he was able to become the ambassador he always has been. He has core values that he exuberates everyday and I think that's not only a great boxer but it made him a great man."
You can find those same values in the work she is doing to back more research in the area of Parkinson's disease and other nerve disorders like multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease. She feels so strongly about it that she joined the board of biotech company BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, which has offices in New York and Israel.
It's one of many companies working with a patient's own adult stem cells to help regenerate damaged neurons. Preliminary results in a handful of ALS patients showed a slowing down in the progression of the disease.
"It's very promising to be able to say our scientists are able to say, the results are incredible. The patients are feeling great. Their symptoms have dissipated. I think that's major news for us, and all of us in the neurodegeneration world that we have hope for these people," Ali said.
In fact, a similar trial with MS patients is about to get underway. Ali says one of her big hopes is that FDA approval comes through in the U.S. to conduct more clinical research so that more patients might see a benefit.