A principal goal of this initiative is to promote research that will lead to better treatment for all muscular dystrophies. The NIAMS, NINDS, NICHD and NHLBI encourage investigator-initiated research grant applications to study therapeutic and pathogenic approaches. Special emphasis is on areas discussed in the MDCC Action Plan for the Muscular Dystrophies. Important research priorities include studies on gene and stem cell therapies, pharmacological and molecular approaches to treatment, and clarification of the role of inflammatory mechanisms. Topics for research projects can include screening and/or diagnosis, understanding disease mechanisms, treatment strategies, and improving quality of life, and can include studies in appropriate animal models or preclinical or clinical studies in patients. Program staff must be contacted prior to submitting a proposal that includes a clinical trial or interventional study in humans.