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

nt project, which will expand our understanding of a devastating disease and bring together scientists and industry."

In a congratulatory letter of support for the Wellstone Center, Senator Edward Kennedy wrote: "Beyond research, this new center will provide future medical health pioneers insight and knowledge into muscular disease treatment as well as promote national cooperation among top leading research centers."

"Indeed, a major goal of ours is to make the work we do here available to the entire international scientific community," says Emerson, who sees the center as a resource to help anyone investigating FSHD or similar diseases.

The Wellstone center partners will identify molecular biomarkers to monitor the effectiveness of therapeutics during clinical trials and establish a repository of FSHD-diseased and normal muscle stem cells to provide the international community with the resources critically needed to develop and test new drug and cell-based therapeutics. A key component of the Wellstone Center will be to educate and train the next generation of research and clinical scientists in an outstanding environment for muscle disease research.

Like the five other Wellstone centers established since 2002, the Boston center is the legacy of Senator Paul Wellstone, who was the Congressional champion of muscular dystrophy. Perez and the Senator worked on the original MD Care Act 2001 legislation together before the Senator's untimely death in a plane crash in 2002.

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy is the second most common adult-onset muscular dystrophy and currently has no treatment or cure. Perez notes, "The prevalence of FSHD is probably three times higher than previously thought given our increased experience with the disease and improved genetic testing for FSHD." Its major characteristic is weakening of the skeletal muscles, beginning in the face and slowly progressing to the shoulder and upper-arm muscles and then
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SOURCE Boston Biomedical Research Institute
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