MDA Awards $17M+ on Behalf of Neuromuscular Disease Research

The organization has invested more than $1B to research in 70 years

Teresa Carvalho, MS avatar

by Teresa Carvalho, MS |

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The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has awarded more than $17 million to projects aimed at advancing research and developing new treatments in muscular dystrophy (MD) and other neuromuscular diseases.

The funding adds to the more than $1 billion the MDA has already invested in research.

“The Muscular Dystrophy Association has consistently been a leader in advancing treatments for individuals with neuromuscular disease. Patients are now living longer, more independent lives, due in large part to the more than $1 billion we have invested in research over the past 70+ years,” Donald S. Wood, PhD, MDA’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “We are pleased to invest an additional $17 million during this grant cycle to continue to fund the research that will lead to increasing advancements in neuromuscular disease treatments and cures.”

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MDA has now awarded 70 grants to researchers investigating the underlying mechanisms of neuromuscular disease as well as potential treatment targets.

“The Muscular Dystrophy Association continues to fund the most innovative research that will lead to cures for a range of neuromuscular diseases,” Sharon Hesterlee, PhD, MDA’s chief research officer, said. “We have already seen our investment pay off with the first effective neuromuscular disease therapies, and these grantees are pushing the envelope even further in diseases once thought incurable.”

Some of the scientists and research projects in this funding cycle include:

  • Jeffrey Statland, MD, professor of neurology at University of Kansas Medical Center; Nicholas Johnson, MD, vice chair of research in the department of neurology at Virginia Commonwealth University; Rabi Tawil, MD, co-director of the MDA Neuromuscular Disease Clinic at the University of Rochester; and Charles Thornton, MD, a professor also from University of Rochester, to advance their clinical trial network for some types of MD, including facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, limb-girdle MD, and myotonic dystrophy
  • Forum Kamdar, MD, PhD, assistant professor, University of Minnesota, to evaluate heart care of MD patients and meet their needs
  • Tejvir Khurana, MD, PhD, professor, University of Pennsylvania and Markus Ruegg, PhD, professor, University of Basel, Switzerland, to develop genetic therapies in Duchenne MD and LAMA2 MD
  • Michael Rudnicki, PhD, scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, to find stem cell-based therapies for MD
  • Xuhui Liu, MD, professor at University of California, San Francisco; George Rodney, PhD, associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine; and Fabio Rossi, MD, PhD, professor, University of British Columbia, to study the potential benefit in Duchenne of treatments currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for other indications.

The grants also funded projects related to other neuromuscular diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, spinal muscular atrophy, and myasthenia gravis.