The MDA announced the funding of $9.9 million dollars in research grants. The grant below is for the study of Kennedy's Disease.
Carlo Rinaldi, Ph.D., associate professor and clinician scientist at the University of Oxford in England, was awarded an MDA Development Grant to study how variants in the gene of the androgen receptor (AR) protein cause spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) and investigate whether a novel antisense oligonucleotide therapy approach can target these toxic variants. The results of the study will provide a better understanding of SBMA disease mechanisms, as well as develop a new therapy potentially capable of treating the disease.spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and ALS. This grant is co-funded by the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM).
Additional information was provided on another page:
“Better understanding of the underlying disease mechanisms, coupled with improvement of gene vector design, therapeutic gene selection, and methods of delivery, have made gene therapy a realistic option for neuromuscular conditions — and neurological diseases in general — for which no treatment option was available until few years ago. Many challenges still lie ahead, but we have good reasons to be very optimistic for the future.”
Carlo Rinaldi, associate professor and clinician scientist at the University of Oxford in England, was awarded an MDA Development Grant totaling $120,000 over 3 years to study the role of androgen receptor isoforms in SBMA pathogenesis and the potential as therapeutic targets. This grant is co-funded by the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM).
Mutations in the gene encoding the androgen receptor (AR) protein cause spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). SBMA is an adult-onset neuromuscular condition affecting males with unmet clinical need. It is not undestood how mutations in AR lead to primary degeneration of motor neurons and muscle in patients. The activity of AR and other hormone receptors can be modulated in human cells by isoforms and/or splice variants, which may block or enhance their functions.
Dr. Rinaldi and colleagues plan to investigate the role of AR alternative isoforms in mediating SBMA toxicity. By revealing how these isoforms regulate AR activity in health and disease, researchers expect to better understand the mechanisms of disease in SBMA and provide a novel rational therapeutic target. If successful, the work could pinpoint tissue-specific targets for therapy development, with implications not only for SBMA but for other diseases of the motor unit as well, including spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophoic lateral sclerosis.