The has announced grants totaling $10 million in support of research aimed at advancing treatments and cures for a broad spectrum of neuromuscular diseases.
Earlier this year, MDA announced a new five-year research plan to advance frontline discoveries that included an increase in research spending and a refocusing of its research grant program; a proactive approach to the marketplace involving requests for proposals for specific funding opportunities; more partnerships with other funders; and a revamping of family care and support. Through its investigator-initiated application program, which received the most grant requests in the organization's sixty-five-year history, MDA awarded grants to thirty-six researchers — half of whom had not previously received a grant from the organization — with the expectation that breakthroughs in one disease could unlock new insights and discoveries in others.
The awards include a total of nearly $2.2 million for research on and the development of therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Other awards will support efforts to validate a new target for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, explore a new target for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, expand therapeutic possibilities in Friedreich's ataxia, and test a new therapeutic strategy in spinal muscular atrophy.
"These new grants are potential game-changers, a signal of our passionate resolve to helping kids and adults fighting neuromuscular diseases live longer and grow stronger," said Valerie Cwik, MDA's vice president and chief medical and scientific officer. "There's more new drug discovery underway than ever before, and we’re determined to double the number of promising human clinical trials in the next five years."