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MDA awards $13.5 million in grants for research treatments for neuromuscular diseases

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 8, 2011 The Muscular Dystrophy Association today awarded 44 grants totaling $13.5 million to support new research to advance understanding of disease processes and to uncover new strategies for treating muscular dystrophies, ALS and other related neuromuscular diseases affecting more than a million Americans. The vital research funding was made possible by generous public support of the MDA Labor Day Telethon.

"MDA-supported researchers have long led the way in advancing understanding of, and developing therapeutic strategies for, neuromuscular diseases," said noted pediatrician, human biochemical geneticist and MDA Chairman of the Board R. Rodney Howell, M.D. "With this most recent round of grants, the Association is spurring on the vital science that ultimately will put an end to a litany of devastating muscle diseases."

About the new grants

Of the 44 new awards, 37 will improve understanding of disease pathology for specific neuromuscular diseases (see list of 17 disorders targeted with this new round of MDA grants), or guide development of strategies for better diagnosis and treatment. Please click on any of the following links for investigator-specific releases. Seven italicized links are particularly notable projects:

University of Alabama

Ludwig Institute
Sanford-Burnham MRI
UC Berkley
UC Los Angeles
UC San Diego 12
UC San Francisco 12

University of Colorado

University of Connecticut
Yale University

University of Miami 12

Emory University 12

University of Iowa

Johns Hopkins 1234

Brigham & Women's Hosp.
Children's Hospital Boston
Mass General Hospital

Michigan State University
University of Michigan

University of Missouri

North Carolina
Duke University Med. Ctr.
Carolinas Medical Center

Wright State University

Temple University
University of Pennsylvania

St. Jude Children's Hosp.

Baylor College of Medicine

University of Virginia

Universit Laval, Canada
Lund University, Sweden
Murdoch CRI Australia 12
University of Rome, Italy

In addition to these 37 research grants, MDA also awarded seven training and development grants designed to increase the number of highly-qualified biomedical researchers working on neuromuscular diseases. Two of these, designated as clinical research training grants (CRTGs), were awarded to promising young physicians James Berry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston and Araya Puwanant, University of Rochester, New York. Furthermore, five career development grants were awarded to young neuromuscular disease investigators to facilitate their transition into independent researchers:

"MDA is pleased to support these young investigators and clinical researchers as they embark on their careers," said Valerie Cwik, M.D., MDA Executive Vice President for Research and Medical Director. "These bright physicians and scientists are the future leaders in our quest to defeat muscular dystrophy and related diseases."


Contact: Lila Petersen
Muscular Dystrophy Association

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