With all due respect to this iconic Hawaii5-0 quote, an interesting thing happened recently at work, IMARC’s CEO Sandra Maddock was taken away in handcuffs! Check out IMARC's Facebook page for pictures of our jail-bird being “arrested”. Not such an unusual story in todays post-ENRON world, but this “arrest warrant” involved raising “bail money” for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s “2012 West Cleveland Executive MDA Lock-Up™”. The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), nationally headquartered in Tucson, AZ is the largest non-governmental sponsor of research investigating the causes of and effective treatment for neuromuscular diseases.
The “Grants at a Glance” tab on the MDA website reports that their Board of Directors approved funding for 33 research projects targeting over 18 neuromuscular diseases just last month. Two of the grant awards are right here in Ohio:
- Feng Lin, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, was awarded a MDA grant to study a cell-based therapy for treatment of myasthenia gravis (MG). MG is an autoimmune disease affecting voluntary muscles where the body produces antibodies that attack the neuromuscular junction, interfering with the normal transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles, thereby impairing motor function. Symptoms of MG include weakness in the muscles that control the eyes, face, neck and limbs. Dr. Lin’s group has developed a new method for generating immunosuppressive cells, inhibiting both T and B cell responses that lead to MG and is currently testing the effectiveness of this approach in an animal model of MG.
- Tom Thompson, PhD, associate professor in the molecular genetics, biochemistry and microbiology department at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, was awarded a MDA grant to study myostatin blocking and degradation mechanisms. Myostatin inhibits the size and mass of muscles, so therapies aimed at inhibiting myostatin are in high demand. Humans have naturally occurring myostatin inhibitors and Dr. Thompson and colleagues are studying how these naturally occurring blocking proteins bind to and neutralize myostatin. Dr. Thompson hopes that this research will lead to harnessing the body’s own immune system to inhibit myostatin.
Lastly, there is a “Clinical Trials and Studies” tab on the MDA website that defines what clinical trials are and provides direction on how to seek out neuromuscular disease trials on clinicaltrials.gov. It provides educational information on both Understanding Clinical Trials and on trial participation.
If you or someone you know or love is affected by neuromuscular disease, check out mda.org as it provides a wealth of information on specific services offered by MDA and how to utilize available resources to better understand, manage and live with muscle disease. Update on our CEO, not only did she get out of “jail” early (for good behavior on her 14th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY) she managed to raise her goal amount of more than $2500 (bail money) to support the work of MDA. Contributions are continuing. Consider contributing to this worthy cause and as MDA says, “Make a Muscle Make a Difference®”.
Photo Credit: The.Comedian