TUCSON, Ariz., April 22, 2013 — The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announced today its 2013 MDA Scientific Conference, “Therapy Development for Neuromuscular Diseases: Translating Hope into Promise,” is under way in Washington, D.C., and runs through Wednesday, April 24.
Approximately 500 scientists, many of whom are at the vanguard of muscle disease research, will present their newest findings about Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, ALS and additional neuromuscular diseases at the conference. Sanofi, a global health care company, is the platinum sponsor for this year’s conference.
Fueled by rapidly evolving biotechnology practices, an unprecedented number of new potential neuromuscular disease therapies have been developed in recent years.
“Five years ago, this meeting could not have happened, but with today’s rapidly moving advances in biotech research, we now have promising new paths for treatment development," said Jane Larkindale, Ph.D., MDA vice president of research. "MDA has been funding neuromuscular disease research for more than 60 years. We appreciate the support that Sanofi and Genzyme (a Sanofi company) are providing for this conference and disease research.”
In addition to the academic scientists who will be attending the meeting, MDA is bringing together professionals from government, industry and the nonprofit sector to join the discussion about therapy development for neuromuscular disorders.
“MDA has played a pivotal role in bringing neuromuscular research to where it is today,” said Marc Bonnefoi, D.V.M., Ph.D., Sanofi's head of the North America R&D Hub. “Sanofi’s support of this conference reflects our long-standing partnership with MDA scientists and our commitment to working with external partners to pool our expertise to advance treatments for patients in need.”
MDA is collaborating with both the Sanofi Tucson Innovation Center in Arizona and with Genzyme in Massachusetts to advance the discovery of therapeutics for neuromuscular diseases, such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMA is one of more than 40 neuromuscular diseases covered by MDA.
The conference co-chairs are: C. Frank Bennett, Ph.D., senior vice president for research at Isis Pharmaceuticals; and Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., Director of the Research Center for Genetic Medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
In addition to funding more than 250 research projects worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of 200 medical clinics; facilitates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and provides local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters living with progressive muscle diseases.