MDA has awarded a research grant totaling $224,863 over three years to Xiaohua Wu, research faculty for the drug discovery group at the McColl-Lockwood Laboratory for Muscular Dystrophy Research at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. The new funds will help support Wu’s research into effective therapies for various types of muscular dystrophy (MD).
The majority of muscular dystrophies are associated with compromised linkages between key structures due to various genetic defects, Wu said. The linkages play crucial roles in muscle function, and strengthening them by increasing the activity of certain genes has proven useful in MD mouse models.
In his new work, Wu and colleagues plan to screen more than 100,000 small compounds and identify those that might help enhance muscle function in various MDs.
The team will then test the therapeutic potential of the identified compounds in cell culture and MD mouse models.
Findings from Wu's work are expected to speed development of drugs for treatment of a number of muscular dystrophies.
"The new MDA grant is essential for our project," Wu said, "allowing us to gather enough resources to conduct the research necessary for developing drugs for MDs."
Funding for this MDA grant began February 1, 2011.