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Funding News - Applications for Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers Requested

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) request applications to establish Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers to increase basic and clinical research on all forms of muscular dystrophy (MD).*

The primary goal of this request for applications (RFA) is to create research centers that will bring together expertise, intrastructure, and resources focused on the major questions about MD. MD refers to a group of genetic disorders characterized by progressive weakness and wasting of muscles. Although research has revealed much about the genetic defects associated with many forms of MD, treatment for these diseases has not changed significantly. Scientists need to learn more about the pathogenesis of the diseases to improve early detection and screening, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these disorders.

Potential areas of research interest include studies to: examine pathogenic mechanisms leading from gene defects to MD phenotypes; clarify the role of inflammatory changes that accompany tissue degeneration (e.g., explore the relationship between inflammatory cells, muscle cell death, and blood vessels); clarify relationships between genotype and natural history of disease; develop improved outcome measures and methods to monitor changes due to treatment or disease progression; examine the involvement of apoptotic cell death in the process of muscle fiber degeneration; develop methods and procedures, such as enhanced imaging that will provide for better monitoring of disease processes; examine genetic heterogeneity and search for additional candidate genes; examine genotype/phenotype correlations within and between families; determine if the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex has both a mechanical and signaling role; analyze properties of muscle cells derived from affected tissue; determine basis of differential involvement of muscles, reflected by the regional pattern of disease; and pursue the development and sharing of appropriate animal models for MD.

APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE: February 24, 2003.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Giovanna Spinella, Program Director, Neurogenetics Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2132, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-5745; fax: 301-401-1501; e-mail: gs41b@nih.gov.

*For a more detailed description of this RFA, please visit the NIH web site at: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-03-001.html.