MDA's Long Game for Neuromuscular Disease Research

As neuromuscular diseases like muscular dystrophy progress, neurons become increasingly unhealthy or die altogether. When that occurs, the neurons can no longer communicate with the muscles, which leads to weakening and eventually, wasting. In some cases, this lack of communication between neurons and muscles can do some serious damage to the heart and lungs.

Neuromuscular disorders can be devastating to sufferers and their loved ones, so it’s a good thing that there are a ton of researchers out there who want to bring an end to this group of diseases. The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is a key funder operating in this space, as we've reported before.

Related: For Researchers Grappling With Muscular Dystrophy, This Funder is Key

It's also a pretty broad-minded one. MDA just announced $10 million in new research grants for not only MD, but other neuromuscular diseases like ALS as well. MDA awarded 36 research grants ranging in amount from around $175,000 to $300,000. The majority of this latest round of grants from MDA are being awarded over the course of three years.

A little over $2 million over eight research grants went toward the study of ALS. The remaining grants were awarded to the study of other neuromuscular disorders including Digital, Duchenne, and Limb Girdle muscular dystrophy.

Toward the beginning of the this year, MDA announced its “bold, five-year research plan to advance frontline discoveries,” and the funding to go along with that plan, which included an increase in research spending as well as co-funding more grants with likeminded organizations. The announcement resulted in 350 proposals, the most the organization has ever received in its decades-long history.

MDA is one of the largest organizations funding research into muscle diseases. So far this year, the organizations has supported some 250 research projects across 16 countries.