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NIH Funds New Wellstone Research Center for Muscular Dystrophy at Boston Biomedical Research Institute
Date:9/10/2008

First Wellstone center in New England and first center in the world to focus exclusively on facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

BOSTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded $9 million to launch a unique collaboration of researchers, clinicians, patients, government research agencies and pharmaceutical/biomedical companies to study the causes and potential treatments for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a muscle weakening and disabling disease that affects, at the least, one in 20,000 individuals worldwide. The award will create the first Senator Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center (MD CRC) to focus on FSHD, the award recipients announced today.

Headquartered at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute (BBRI), this center for excellence in muscular dystrophy will be the first ever in New England, and the first of these prestigious centers -- named for the late Senator Paul Wellstone -- to focus on FSHD, the second most prevalent adult muscular dystrophy. The Wellstone MD CRCs themselves represent a paradigm shift in research because of their intensely collaborative nature and particularly because of their mandate to include the patient advocacy organizations as a full partner in the research process.

"We see this as a unique opportunity to tackle a tough disease in the most efficient way to set the stage for development of therapies," says Dr. Charles Emerson, director of the new center and president of BBRI. "We have recruited the best minds in basic and clinical research and have an extraordinarily committed patient advocacy group to help us focus on this problem."

Co-director, Dr. Louis Kunkel, a professor of Genetics and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, director of the Genomics Program at Children's Hospital and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, agrees. "We believe this research center model will bring disc
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SOURCE Boston Biomedical Research Institute
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