It was June 2010; prime minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan just resigned; a giant earthquake hit Chile; the FIFA World Cup had just kicked-off in South Africa; and Bernard Miller was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Bernard is a successful entrepreneur. He's tall, well dressed, with salt and pepper hair and a wry grin. He loves his family and is a golf fanatic.
Before his diagnosis, Bernard ran his own company in the oil and maritime industry. When asked what he did after his diagnosis, Bernard simply smiles and shrugs: "Some people simply resign themselves to the situation, but that doesn't suit me." Instead of accepting conventional treatment plans, he decided to tackle his illness with the same entrepreneurial spirit that had served him so well in his career.
Whilst reading up on ALS and building a network within the biotech and life sciences sector, Bernard met Robbert Jan Stuit, a fellow ALS patient. They decided to approach the problem from a business perspective.
Together, they set up Project MinE, a project that studies the underlying genetic basis that plays a role in developing ALS, examining the DNA profiles of thousands of ALS patients and healthy individuals.
Around the same time, Bernard and Robert also started the biotech company Treeway, with the goal of using the data collected by MinE to help develop future therapies. Treeway investigates the disease mechanism itself and is looking for ways to slow the disease's progression.
Six years after diagnosis, Bernard is as cheerfully determined as ever: "I refuse to rest until the cause of ALS has been discovered and we can work towards finding a cure."
Medicine: Radicut (edaravone)