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'Show me the money!' MDA greenlights grants
Date:7/13/2009

TUCSON, Ariz., July 13, 2009At a time when federal and private funds for biomedical research have become scarce, the Muscular Dystrophy Association reasserts its leadership in the fight against muscle diseases by announcing grants to innovative research projects throughout America and in Canada.

"Federal support for the type of work we do has just about dried up, especially in the current economic climate. Simply put, without the support of MDA, this line of investigation could not be pursued by our lab," said Eric Schon, researcher at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

MDA has committed over $2 billion to fund medical and scientific research, as well as clinical and client services, in its 55-year history.

"These new research grants, just announced at the July MDA Board of Directors meeting, support research to be conducted from 2009 through 2011, totaling almost $5 million. MDA committed approximately $43million to new and ongoing research in 2008," said MDA Chairman of the Board R. Rodney Howell.

There are no cures yet for most muscle diseases, but the research MDA has funded has created the basis for progressive treatments of muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, and spinal muscular atrophy. It also served as the basis for a lifesaving therapy developed by Genzyme for a metabolic muscle disease called Pompe disease.

At Columbia University, Schon has been awarded a three-year $400,000 grant to continue research into diseases of the mitochondria caused by genetic mutations. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell and, when they fail, can cause muscle weakness and pain, diabetes, blindness and heart disease, along with other debilitating and/or fatal conditions. Schon's research may provide the key for treating many muscle diseases.

MDA has awarded a three-year, $900,000 award to Jerry Mendell at Nationwide Children's Hospital
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Contact: Lila Petersen
lpetersen@mdausa.org
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Source:Eurekalert

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