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MDA to Fund 38 New Research Grants

CHICAGO, April 14, 2014 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association, the largest nonprofit funder of neuromuscular disease research in the United States, has awarded funding for 38 new research grants totaling $3.6 million for the first year and $10.7 million over three years.The awards will be made to researchers seeking promising treatments and cures for muscle diseases within MDA's program.
The new grants are in addition to more than 200 research projects underway this year across 12 countries. Funding of the new grants will begin May 1 and continue for two to three years, depending on the individual grant request.

"Our mission is to save and improve lives, and these new grants provide more insight into the causes of these diseases, and represent the best in current possibilities to help lead us to treatments and cures," said Valerie Cwik, M.D., MDA's Executive Vice President and Chief Medical & Scientific Officer. "These grants build on the remarkable progress we're making with more new drug discovery and clinical trials underway than ever before."

For more than 60 years, MDA has funded research to investigate the causes of neuromuscular disease as well as research seeking treatments and cures. The organization’s specialized clinic program is at the forefront of research and treatment methods and standards of care. Some clinics also serve as sites for clinical trials.
See MDA research dollars at work: Jack and Nolan Willis
The grants approved in March by MDA's Board of Directors were recommended for funding by MDA's Medical and Scientific Advisory Committees late last year. These committees represent some 40 leading clinicians and scientists who serve in these volunteer roles for MDA.
Among the new research grants:

  • Addressing immune system abnormalities in ALS. MDA funding to scientists at Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston will allow them to determine precisely what changes occur in the immune system in people with ALS so that treatments targeting specific immune system abnormalities can be developed.
  • Testing a potential new treatment for Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy. MDA funding to scientists at Columbia University in New York will allow them to test a potential new treatment for Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy that may improve the function of the heart and skeletal muscles.

To fund the new research, MDA has launched an aggressive fundraising plan in 2014 that again features its community-based Muscle Walks and Muscle Team events, local Lock-Ups, a Shamrocks mobile program involving 15,000 retailers, and the 60th Annual Fill the Boot campaign led by the International Association of Fire Fighters. Plus, MDA has added a new endurance program called Team Momentum in which individuals and teams participate in marathons and raise funds.

"Research is the cornerstone of our mission, and we're appealing to supporters everywhere to play a special role in funding this lifesaving work," said Ann McNamara, MDA's Executive Vice President and Chief Income Development Officer. "So many generous people and companies are stepping up to the challenge with remarkable generosity on behalf of the families we serve. We're redoubling our fundraising so we can invest even more in research in years to come."

About MDA
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to saving and improving the lives of anyone with muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures; by providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide; and by rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement. Visit and follow us at and @MDAnews. Learn more about MDA's mission by watching this video.