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Leading experts on congenital muscular dystrophy convene at University of Nevada, Reno
Date:4/18/2012

the myomatrix, which is the junction between muscle and the extracellular matrix.

"The extracellular matrix is the front lawn of the muscle cell, long ignored and now recognized to be a leading player in driving the relentless progression in congenital muscular dystrophy," said Anne Rutkowski, physician researcher and chairperson for Cure CMD, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to congenital muscular dystrophy research and education and a Myomatrix 2012 sponsor.

The conference will focus specifically on the myomatrix, establishing the current state of knowledge, exploring new mechanisms, developing collaboration and synergy between existing projects, defining key areas of future and developing research, and building a roadmap that defines myomatrix in its development, healthy and diseased states.

"The singular focus (of Myomatrix 2012) marks a step ahead since the last meeting," said Burkin. "At this point we are seeing the fruition of the scientific community's work. It's beginning to filter out. It's time to ask ourselves if we have covered all the bases, if there is other basic science research or other targets to explore.

"It's possible that if we discover a common pathway or mechanism, we might be able to treat the diseases with a single drug," said Burkin.

Congenital muscular dystrophy is a rare group of diseases that causes muscle weakness at birth. Several defined genetic mutations cause muscles to break down faster than they can repair or grow. A child with congenital muscular dystrophy may have various neurological or physical impairments.

"Some children never gain the ability to walk, while others lose this ability," said Rutkowski. "Investing in science and Myomatrix 2012 brings hope that one day all children and adults with CMD can participate in a clinical trial."

Myomatrix 2012 has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and the support of three NIH resea
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Contact: Mike Wolterbeek
mwolterbeek@unr.edu
University of Nevada, Reno
Source:Eurekalert

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