The Muscular Dystrophy Association, the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to save and improve the lives of people with muscle disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases, recently announced it awarded some of the world’s most promising and esteemed scientists research grants amounting to $10 million to fund potentially groundbreaking research initiatives. Among these is a research project focused on expanding therapeutic possibilities in Friedreich’s ataxia.
The MDA’s investigator-initiated application process received 350 grant requests, setting a new record since it began funding basic, translational and clinical research 65 years ago. This year, the MDA has selected 36 investigators to receive the grants, half of whom are new applicants with fresh ideas.
MDA’s decades of generous investments in clinical research have made over 30 studies possible in the past year alone for breakthrough treatments that have the potential to address a number of neuromuscular diseases. This year’s round of funding was approved by the association’s Board of Directors after subjecting all applications to a rigorous screening process by the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committees of the MDA, which is comprised of prominent clinicians and scientists. After careful selection, the MDA has committed itself to fund 250 distinct research initiatives across 16 countries.
“We’re supporting the best of the best, thanks to generous sponsors and supporters who champion our work,” Cwik said. “For MDA families, advancements can’t come soon enough.”
Among the new MDA research grants is the project titled “Expanding therapeutic possibilities in Friedreich’s ataxia (FA)”, where scientists at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center will work to find the optimal HDAC inhibitor and dose for increasing production of the frataxin protein, which is deficient in FA and, in parallel, test an alternative HDAC inhibitor that may prove more effective than others tested to date.