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Wayne State University to Lead $6.25 Million NIH Research Program on One of the Most Common Inherited Neurological Disorders: Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
Date:10/6/2009

DETROIT, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Institutes of Health announced yesterday a second phase of the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network totaling $117 million which includes funds for 19 research consortia. Wayne State University received a five-year, $6.25 million research consortium grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke under this program. The grant, "Inherited Neuropathies Consortium," is an international project aimed at developing a better understanding of and new treatments for the various forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is one of the most common genetic nerve diseases, affecting 1 in 2,500 people, or 120,000 Americans. CMT causes progressive muscle weakness, painful foot deformities and walking difficulty. As the disease progresses, weakness and muscle atrophy occur in the hands, resulting in difficulty with fine motor skills. Symptoms vary from patient to patient, with pain ranging from mild to severe, with some patients relying on foot or leg braces or other orthopedic devices to maintain mobility. To date, no effective therapies are available for any form of CMT.

To address this issue, Dr. Michael Shy, M.D., professor of neurology in the School of Medicine, and resident of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is leading the study which aims to provide insights into disease mechanisms, develop therapies and educate future research on inherited neuropathies such as CMT.

According to Shy, there are mutations in more than 40 different genes causing CMT in millions of patients throughout the world. "Modern genetics and cell biology make developing treatments for these disorders a realistic possibility," said Shy. "However, many of the individual forms of CMT are rare, so to better understand the different forms of CMT and develop rational treatments for them requires national and international collaborations between neur
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