Stay informed. See MDA updates on COVID-19

About Us

We're here to transform the lives of people affected by neuromuscular disease.

Facebook Live Q&A on COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Impact on Clinical Trials for the Neuromuscular Community

Featuring Dr. Jeffrey Statland, KUMedical Center and Dr. David Swerdlow, Pfizer Hosted, hosted by MDA’S Sharon Hesterlee, Ph.D. Thursday, September 17 at 12noon ET

NEW YORK, NY – Monday, September 14, 2020

What:

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) invites you to join a special virtual conversation on Facebook Live featuring Dr. Jeffrey Statland, associate professor of neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center and leading MDA researcher; with Dr. David Swerdlow, COVID-19 Vaccine Global Medical Lead, Pfizer; hosted by Sharon Hesterlee, Ph.D., EVP, Chief Research Officer at the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The discussion will include:

    • Status of the COVID-19 vaccine development
    • Impact COVID-19 on neuromuscular disease research
    • Ways researchers are continuing to drive clinical trials forward
    • How telemedicine is playing into neuromuscular disease research
    • Strategic research funding leads to treatments and cures
    • Preparedness and guidelines on the MDA resource page for COVID-19

Facebook Live Q&A on COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Impact on Clinical Trials for the Neuromuscular Community Featuring  Dr. Jeffrey Statland, KUMedical Center and Dr. David Swerdlow, Pfizer Hosted, hosted by MDA’S Sharon Hesterlee, Ph.D. Thursday, September 17 at 12noon ET
Facebook Live Q&A on COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Impact on Clinical Trials for the Neuromuscular Community Featuring Dr. Jeffrey Statland, KUMedical Center and Dr. David Swerdlow, Pfizer Hosted, hosted by MDA’S Sharon Hesterlee, Ph.D. Thursday, September 17 at 12noon ET

Featuring a Q&A open to a global audience including patients and caregivers from families and caregivers living with neuromuscular diseases, the conversation aims to provide answers and resources families urgently need in these uncertain times, when this community is among the highest risk for COVID-19.

When:

Thursday, September 17 at 12noon EDT

Where:

https://www.facebook.com/MDAOrg/

MDA will request questions from the community in forthcoming posts on the @MDAorg Facebook page.

Who:

Host/Moderator: Sharon Hesterlee, Ph.D., MDA;
Guests: Dr. Jeffrey Statland, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, KU Medical Center and Dr. David Swerdlow, COVID Vaccine Global Medical Lead, Pfizer

Event sponsor: MitsubishiTanabePharmaAmerica

** Dr. Jeffrey Statland and Sharon Hesterlee are available for interview prior to, or following, Q&A**

  • Dr. Jeffrey Statland, is an associate professor of neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a leading researcher in the field of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). He is the co-principal investigator for ReSolve (Clinical Trial Readiness to Solve Barriers to Drug Development in FSHD), an ongoing observational study that aims to validate new clinical outcome assessments and evaluate physiological biomarkers to support the design and implementation of future clinical trials. In addition to co-leading the ReSolve natural history study, Dr. Statland, along with his collaborators at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is developing a disease-specific patient reported health inventory and molecular and neuroimaging biomarkers of disease activity for future FSHD clinical trials.
  • David L. Swerdlow MD (CAPT. USPHS, retired) joined Pfizer Vaccines in May, 2015 where he is Sr. Director, COVID Vaccine Global Medical Lead, Global Clinical Epidemiology Lead and Business Development Head, Medical Development & Scientific/Clinical Affairs (MDSCA). Before joining Pfizer, he worked at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 25 years. He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases, was a clinical assistant professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine and worked in the Infectious Diseases Clinic caring for patients with HIV/AIDS at the Atlanta VA Medical Center for over 20 years (1993-2015). He was an adjunct assistant professor at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University where he was the lead instructor of two epidemiology courses from 2000- 2015 and was on the faculty council. Most recently he was on the HHS Executive Enterprises Committee, the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Emerging Infectious Disease Working Group, the Program Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Co-Chair of the Pandemic Prediction and Forecasting Science and Technology Working Group which is sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and is an Academic Editor at PLoS One. He has co-authored over 250 peer-review publications, book chapters, and government publications.
  • Sharon Hesterlee, Ph.D., is the EVP, Chief Research Officer at the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Prior to rejoining MDA, Dr. Hesterlee served as the Executive Vice President for Portfolio Development and head of neuromuscular programs at leading adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy company Asklepios Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Askbio). Before joining Askbio/Lion she served as Director, Gene Therapy at Pfizer Inc.'s Rare Disease Research Unit, where she led three of Pfizer's internal gene therapy programs following the acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics in 2016. In the 15 years before transitioning to industry-focused roles, Dr. Hesterlee led research and strategy for several leading nonprofit organizations, having served as Chief Science Officer for the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, Vice President of Research for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and Scientific Director of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. During her initial work with MDA, she served as Senior Vice President and Executive Director of MDA Venture Philanthropy and Vice President for Translational Research, among other positions.

Why:

COVID-19 has upended many facets of research and clinical trials. MDA investigators are fighting through with creative ways to keep vital research moving forward while our pharma colleagues develop the first vaccines.

The neuromuscular disease community (including people with muscular dystrophy, CMD, SMA, Duchenne and related diseases such as ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) – are among the highest risk populations for COVID-19. They are also among the most overlooked. While precautions for cancer patients, older adults and those with conditions that affect respiratory health exist, there is a lack of information specific to people living with neuromuscular diseases and their caregivers. MDA continues to be on the frontlines serving this community with research, care, and advocacy for over 250,000 people in the United States.

About the Muscular Dystrophy Association

For 70 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been committed to transforming the lives of people affected by muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. We do this through innovations in science and innovations in care. As the largest source of funding for neuromuscular disease research outside of the federal government, MDA has committed more than $1 billion since our inception to accelerate the discovery of therapies and cures. Research we have supported is directly linked to life-changing therapies across multiple neuromuscular diseases. MDA's MOVR is the first and only data hub that aggregates clinical, genetic, and patient-reported data for multiple neuromuscular diseases to improve health outcomes and accelerate drug development. MDA supports the largest network of multidisciplinary clinics providing best in class care at more than 150 of the nation's top medical institutions. Our Resource Center serves the community with one-on-one specialized support, and we offer educational conferences, events, and materials for families and healthcare providers. Each year thousands of children and young adults learn vital life skills and gain independence at summer camp and through recreational programs, at no cost to families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MDA continues to produce virtual events and programming to support our community when in-person events and activities are not possible, including virtual summer camp. MDA's COVID-19 guidelines and virtual events are posted at mda.org/COVID19. For more information, visit mda.org.