MDA’s Scientific Conference Brings Together the Best Researchers to Create Real Progress for MDA Families

MDA Scientific Conference
R. Rodney Howell, M.D., Chairman, MDA Board of Directors

This week, hundreds of the best and brightest scientists from around the country are gathering in the Washington, D.C., area at the 2017 MDA Scientific Conference, with the goal of working collectively toward advancing scientific breakthroughs to save and improve lives for MDA families.

The conference takes place at a special time in the history of MDA and the neuromuscular disease field, as we’ve recently seen three drugs, all developed and tested with critical support from MDA, be granted FDA approval to treat diseases in our program. Three drugs in six months!

Following these successes, MDA’s sense of urgency to find treatments for all the diseases under our umbrella has only been heightened, our efforts redoubled. We are certain that these approvals will provide inspiration and motivation for academics, biotechs, pharmaceutical companies and other key industry stakeholders to galvanize their efforts and spur advances in drug development across the board. Perhaps even more importantly, these new treatment options deliver an even greater sense of hope to MDA families who are counting on the medical and scientific communities to forge ahead with even greater intensity in the development of therapies and cures.

The researchers participating in this year’s conference are committed to working together not only to keep up this newfound momentum but to accelerate progress toward the solutions so many MDA families are waiting for.

The focus of the 2017 conference is on increasing knowledge of disease causes, identifying new therapeutic targets and innovative technologies, and discussing new advances in preclinical and clinical research — all aimed at accelerating drug development and targeted treatments for neuromuscular diseases.

Some of the topics that will be covered include genetics, epigenetics and gene discovery; approaches to precision medicine; motor and peripheral neuron diseases; and clinical trials. The full agenda is available here for those of you interested in learning more. As you will see, the conference participants plan to cover a broad range of topics, with ample opportunity for dialogue and exchange of ideas.

The work being done by the scientists in attendance is helping individuals with neuromuscular diseases live longer and grow stronger. The projects that are in the idea or discovery stage in their laboratories right now could one day become viable treatments and cures. That’s why it is so important that MDA provide this forum for the scientists — because one day their work will change the lives of our families. We see this conference not only as a commitment to advancing science but also to the fulfillment of a promise to our families to work tirelessly to create real results.

This conference and the profound impact of its proceedings exemplify our commitment to strength, independence and life. We are grateful to scientists and MDA Care Center team members every day for all they do to help accelerate progress in our fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harmful effects of neuromuscular diseases.

Special thanks to our 2017 MDA Scientific Conference sponsors, Marathon Pharmaceuticals and Sarepta Therapuetics.