Richard A. Smith, M.D.


During his neurology residency at Stanford University, Dr. Smith began his first studies of Lou Gehrig's Disease which has remained his principal career interest. His initial studies focused on the symptomatic treatment of ALS but at Scripp's Research Institute, he began to research the cause of ALS and subsequently directed his major effort to developing a therapy for ALS and kindred disorders.

Significant Contributions and Achievements:

His earliest publications in the New England Journal, British Medical Journal, etc. were among the first publications to demonstrate the utility of symptomatic management in the care of ALS patients. Among the first investigator to recognize the potential of interferon as a treatment modality, Dr. Smith's work contributed to the adoption of interferon as one of the first treatments for multiple sclerosis. And, along with colleagues Barry Festoff and Schlomo Melmed, Dr. Smith conducted the first trial of a growth factor (IGF-1) as a treatment for a neurological disease. More recent achievements include the development of DMQ which was approved by FDA in 2011 for the treatment of emotional lability and the development of antisense therapeutics, along with colleagues at UCSD and Isis Pharmaceutical Corp, as potential  treatment for familial neurological disorders such as Huntington's Disease and familial ALS. Recently (2019), Dr. Smith, along with colleagues, was awarded the international Healey Prize for his drug discovery efforts.

Dr. Smith attended Brandeis University and subsequently, received his medical degree from the University of Miami. Following graduation from medical school, he interned at Jackson Memorial Hospital after which he obtained his neurology training at Stanford University.

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