Five Questions with Researcher Steven Markus

Steven Markus, assistant professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., was awarded an MDA research grant totaling $300,000 over a period of three years to study alterations in the dynein gene and their effects in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). His work to elucidate the molecular basis for dynein . . .

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Five Questions with Researcher Natalia Rodríguez Muela

Natalia Rodríguez Muela, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., was awarded an MDA development grant totaling $179,985 over a period of three years to deepen our understanding of what goes wrong in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a progressive disease caused by low levels of SMN protein. The work will focus on how . . .

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Participants Sought for Dermatomyositis Trial

Investigators are seeking people to participate in a phase 2 clinical trial, sponsored by Idera Pharmaceuticals, to evaluate the effect of the experimental drug IMO-8400 on skin lesions and muscle weakness in dermatomyositis. While the cause of dermatomyositis is unclear in most cases, it is known that ongoing inflammation triggered by the disease, over time, . . .

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MDA-Supported Study Validates Surgery as a Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis

  In an MDA-supported worldwide study, researchers found that surgical removal of an organ called the thymus reduced muscle weakness and lowered the need for drugs that suppress the immune system in people with myasthenia gravis (MG). MG is an autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes varying degrees of muscle weakness and fatigue. Initial treatment typically . . .

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FDA Will Review Deflazacort for Treatment of DMD

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted Marathon Pharmaceuticals’ New Drug Applications for deflazacort for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and granted Priority Review. Deflazacort, a glucocorticoid, works as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant. In the United States, the drug is considered an investigational therapy, as it has not been approved by . . .

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DMD Natural History Study Seeks Participants

Researchers are looking for boys and men, ages 5 to 18 years, to participate in a natural history study that is designed to assess the potential of imaging techniques to monitor disease progression and serve as an outcome measure for clinical trials in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Both healthy volunteers and individuals with DMD are . . .

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Encouraging Results in Nusinersen Trial for Infantile-Onset SMA

In a joint statement today, Biogen and Ionis Pharmaceuticals announced encouraging interim results from the late-stage ENDEAR clinical trial to test the experimental drug nusinersen in infants with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Based on the results, investigators have stopped the trial to allow all participants to transition into an open-label trial called SHINE, . . .

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Public Comment Period is Open: Help Guide ALS Clinical Trials

In March 2016, experts in the ALS community gathered at the ALS Clinical Trials Guidelines 2016 Workshop, supported in part by MDA. With the aim of improving the testing process for experimental therapies to treat ALS, a multinational group that included neurologists, basic scientists, statisticians, patient advocates, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies and . . .

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PTC Therapeutics Escalates Discussions with FDA Over a Pathway to Approval for Ataluren to Treat DMD

PTC Therapeutics announced today that it recently has submitted an appeal to escalate continuing discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about a path toward approval in the United States for Translarna to treat some forms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). PTC completed submission of its New Drug Application (NDA) to market Translarna . . .

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Experimental Mitochondrial Myopathy Treatment Shows Encouraging Results in Phase 2 Trial

Stealth Bio Therapeutics has reported encouraging results from a phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate elamipretide for the treatment of muscle weakness caused by mitochondrial disease. Elamipretide is an experimental drug designed to modify disease by helping to restore normal energy production in mitochondria and decrease oxidative stress. In the completed MMPOWER trial, investigators treated . . .

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