To crack the code of FSHD, patients are absolutely essential
All of the breakthroughs—the discovery of the genetic causes, understanding why some patients vary so greatly in the severity of their symptoms, teasing out the biochemical pathways that could point to future treatments—were made because patients stepped up to the plate.
Too often, we hear patients say they’ll volunteer when there’s a treatment. But we will never get to a treatment unless patients participate in fundamental research now. FSHD is uniquely human, so no laboratory mouse can ever fully model the disease. The genetic “package” that causes FSHD is found only in people. We owe an enormous debt to the patients who give DNA samples. Who submit to long interviews and exhausting physical tests. Allow a surgeon to cut out a small muscle sample. Who fight claustrophobia to lie in the narrow bore of an MRI machine.
Equally important are patients’ family members, both affected and unaffected, who provide the best experimental controls because of their shared genetic and environmental backgrounds. A parent or sibling who has very mild symptoms may hold the key to understanding the factors that protect against the full-blown development of FSHD symptoms in a more severely affected family member.
We are more hopeful today than ever before that a treatment is within sight. We cannot guarantee when that treatment will arrive, but here’s one thing we guarantee: If you volunteer for research, your participation will without question help move us a step closer to that day.
Accelerating the path to developing FSHD therapiesOur webinar presenter is Molly White, Vice President, Medical Communications & Advocacy at Dyne Therapeutics. Molly brings a unique perspective on the impact of the FSHD community’s role in therapy development. She previously served as chief executive officer of Myotonic, an organization dedicated to advancing research and enhancing the quality of life of people living with myotonic dystrophy. For more information, visit www.fshdsociety.org
FSHD Society webinar - COVID-19 survey reportIn the spring of 2020, the FSHD Society and FSHD UK distributed a survey from the University of Rochester to assess how the neuromuscular patient community was responding to the social distancing policies imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are so grateful to the hundreds of individuals who responded. The key investigators, Leann Lewis and Katy Eichinger, presented their findings in this webinar. We’re so pleased to be able to report back data so quickly to our community. There will be Q&A and discussion of the insights gained that could help inform how people are coping with the challenges of these times. For more information, visis www.fshdsociety.org.
COVID-19 and FSH muscular dystrophyThis FSHD Society webinar features Ghinwa Dumyati, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Prevention at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Her research focuses on tracking and preventing infections of public health importance. She has previously worked with local health department during the SARS outbreak and 2009 H1N1 Influenza. She is presently assisting nursing homes in managing the COVID-19 outbreaks in their facilities. She will be joined by her husband, Rabi Tawil, MD, and Jeffrey Statland, MD, both leading FSHD physicians and researchers. For more information, visit www.fshdsociety.org
Scientific Overview of FSHD
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Glossary of Scientific Terms
What’s so great about the MOVE study? A lot, if you are research geeks like us or care about getting treatments to patients sooner. MOVE is what’s called an “observational” or “natural history” study of people with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) that evaluates how symptoms and abilities change over a period of time. It is… Read More »
Alec DeSimone, PhD, currently a postdoctoral researcher at Yale School of Medicine, was the winner of the Best Poster Award at the 2021 International Research Congress, held virtually on June 24-25. The title of his poster “A live-cell drug screening platform for FSHD therapeutics,” co-authored with Drs. Angela Lek and Monkol Lek, describes a cost-effective,… Read More »
The 2021 FSHD Society Young Investigator Award at the International Research Congress was awarded to Giorgio Tasca, MD PhD, a neurologist at the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario in Rome, Italy. Dr. Tasca received his medical degree (MD) with honors at the Catholic University in Rome, Italy in 2005 and his PhD in Neuroscience at the same… Read More »
By June Kinoshita, Director of Research and Patient Engagement “Positive benefit/risk supports losmapimod’s potential to be a transformative therapy for the treatment of FSHD”—Fulcrum Therapeutics Fulcrum Therapeutics announced today that losmapimod, its experimental therapy for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, produced statistically significant improvements in function and decreased fatty infiltration of muscle in its ReDUX4 clinical trial…. Read More »