MDA has awarded a clinical research training grant totaling $173,400 to Araya Puwanant at the University of Rochester (New York) Medical Center. The new funds will support completion of a two-year fellowship during which Puwanant will study the disease process in myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD, or DM).
"In recent years there has been progress in understanding why people with MMD develop muscle weakness and stiffness," Puwanant said. "As more is being learned about the disease, scientists are making progress in developing experimental treatments."
Some therapies currently under development likely will move from laboratory testing to testing in human clinical trials.
"In preparation for clinical trials, we need to have detailed information about how the condition changes over time," said Puwanant. "We also need to find good ways to measure whether new treatments are having a beneficial effect."
Puwanant will be taking part in research studies to carefully chart the progression of MMD over time in a large group of individuals with the disease. Analysis of these observations is expected to help to determine the best way to measure the severity of MMD. Additionally, information gained from Puwanant’s study may help determine the effectiveness of future experimental treatments for the disease.
Funding for this MDA grant began February 1, 2011.