WOONSOCKET, R.I., June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS/pharmacy has launched its annual in-store Advancing Medical Research fundraising campaign to support medical research and help improve the quality of life for those living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Funds raised through the campaign will benefit the ALS Therapy Alliance (ATA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing ALS research. Supporters of the 2013 campaign can donate $1 or $3 at the register in CVS/pharmacy locations nationwide and online at www.cvs.com/als through June 29. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100816/NE50800LOGO ) ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor nerves in the brain and spinal cord, typically leading to paralysis and death within four to six years. There is no known cause or cure for ALS, which affects approximately 30,000 Americans, with 5,600 new cases diagnosed nationwide each year. But a new research grant, funded by CVS/pharmacy, is exploring gene silencing therapies that aim to end the progression of ALS in patients and provide new leads for solving other degenerative disorders. "CVS/pharmacy and its Advancing Medical Research campaign have helped us realize critical advancements in ALS research, including our new research project on gene silencing therapies," said Dr. Robert H. Brown, Jr., president of ALS Therapy Alliance. "Many of the ALS cases that we understand at the molecular level arise because a 'sick' gene makes a toxic protein that kills a cell, but if we can turn off the gene, then the toxicity is ameliorated," Dr. Brown explained. "We hope that this important research will yield results in the near term and move us toward therapies for human use," continued Dr. Brown. "And we know that we're closer than ever before to finding a cure for ALS through the support we receive from CVS/pharmacy and the annual in-store campaign."