New research grant NMDRC

Congratulations are in order for the researchers at the National Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre (NMDRC) – they have received a $640,000 grant from the NHMRC to expand their ground-breaking research into muscular dystrophy. Muscular Dystrophy Australia (MDA) is the principal sponsor and cofounder of the NMDRC at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute based at the Royal Children’s Hospital and it is this seed funding that allows further grants such as this to be obtained. It is encouraging to see research efforts gaining momentum: the centre is growing larger and new exciting projects are being embarked on.

Boris M Struk, Muscular Dystrophy Australia’s Executive Director, said “Success in attaining this grant is recognition of the work undertaken by scientists at NMDRC. I am delighted that MDA’s research funding strategy has given the centre the leverage to generate additional peer reviewed research funding for our projects”.

The grant money will be used to test a possible new treatment for muscular dystrophy. Initial studies by the research team led by Dr Shireen Lamandé suggest that inactivating a type of enzyme present in the muscles called ‘ADAMTS5’ improves the symptoms of muscular dystrophy in a mouse model. They now plan to further investigate this and find out if this strategy could be developed into an effective treatment for people with muscular dystrophy.

“Our goal is to identify the causes of muscular dystrophy and to find effective new treatments. MDA support for Dr Jason White and Dr Chantal Coles has been instrumental in allowing us to develop this new approach and obtain NHMRC funding. We really value our longstanding and ongoing relationship with MDA that is helping us to ‘make a difference’” said Dr Shireen Lamandé senior research fellow and group leader for muscular dystrophy research at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

The NHMRC – National Health and Medical Research Council – is the body responsible for allocating the Government’s health and medical research funding; they distribute hundreds of millions of dollars each year. This year the NHMRC received over 5000 grant applications and less than 1 in 5 received funding. So it is a testament to the researchers at the NMDRC that they have been successful in obtaining this grant.

Updated 26 November 2013