International World Muscle Society Congress
We currently sponsor the Duchenne Research Prize at the World Muscle Society’s annual symposium. At the 20th anniversary congress in September 2015, held in Brighton, Caroline Le Guiner was awarded the prize for her research project, which showed that gene therapy benefited dogs with Duchenne muscular dystrophy – increasing their life expectancy and restoring vital muscle function. The project was entitled: ‘Adeno-associated virus vector (AAV) microdystrophin gene therapy prolongs survival and restores muscle function in the canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy’.
At the Berlin meeting in 2014, the prize was awarded to Professor Maggie Walter for her project entitled ‘Dystrophin-deficient pigs provide new insights into the hierarchy of physiological derangements of dystrophic muscle.’ At the Asilomar, California meeting in 2013 Dr Nicholas Wein won the prize for his presentation of research relating to Duchenne mutations. The 21st congress will be held on 4-8 October 2016 in Granada, Spain.
HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program
At the end of 2010, we announced a partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to fund a medical student doing research in a field related to Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The Fellows Program enables medical, dental, and veterinary students attending schools in the United States to spend a year conducting basic, translational, or applied biomedical research at any school or non-profit research institution in the US. In June 2013, we awarded funds to Dr Irina Shklyar, who is working on a research project at Yale University, Boston. Dr Shklyar is studying ways of assessing muscle health in Duchenne boys using ultrasound, eliminating the need to cut out successive samples of muscle for testing.