Families of SMA Announces $1.4Million Planned for Next Round of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Research Fun

Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (FSMA) is dedicated to creating a treatment and cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) by funding and advancing a comprehensive research program.
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June 7, 2012 - PRLog -- Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (FSMA) is dedicated to creating a treatment and cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) by funding and advancing a comprehensive research program.  

The organization is planning to award $1.4 Million in new research funding over the next 6 months.  This new round of research funding will be allocated into three areas: 1)Basic Research to understand the disease and provide ideas for drug making, 2)Drug Discovery to develop new SMA therapies, and 3)Clinical Research to help test new drugs effectively and to improve care for patients.

Families of SMA will release two distinct Requests for Proposals for new research funding to the SMA research community in July, 2012, with the new funds to be awarded in late fall 2012. This follows $745,000 awarded to 7 basic research grants late last year, and $1.5 Million awarded recently for two new drug discovery projects.  

Funding for New Basic Research Grants.
This basic research provides fundamental information about what is going wrong in SMA, which then provides seed ideas for new ways of making drugs.  Our current round of funding will focus on proposals determining the functional role of SMN protein, finding the tissues where SMN protein is required, identifying new drug targets for SMA, and building new tools to facilitate SMA research.

Funding for New Drug Discovery Programs.
FSMA has been investing in and advancing drug research since 2000. The goal of drug discovery funding at FSMA is to build a large and diverse therapeutic pipeline to maximize the chances for success in finding a treatment for SMA.  FSMA has been involved in funding half of all the ongoing SMA drug programs to date. New awards in the current round will focus on providing critical funding for early-exploratory projects assessing novel therapeutic approaches for SMA, or for specific aspects of current promising drug programs.

“Families of SMA is pleased to announce the plans for this additional $1.4 Million in new research investments”, says Jill Jarecki, PhD, FSMA Research Director.  “We believe that multi-dimensional and consistent research investments are key to creating the needed momentum in SMA research.  This next round follows the recent funding of nine new awards in basic research and drug discovery by FSMA in just the last year.  We have been successful in implementing our model of early diversified investments followed by licensing programs to industrial partners for clinical development or obtaining large-scale government funding.”

Recent research funding from FSMA includes:
-Families of SMA Awards New Funding to Advance a CNS Delivered Gene Therapy for SMA.  
-Families of SMA Announces $700,000 Funding for Novel SMA Drug Program at Newly Created California Institute for Biomedical Research.  
-Families of SMA Awards 7 New Basic Research Grants for $745,000 to Develop New Approaches for SMA Therapies.  

The FSMA research funding philosophy is based on expert and independent oversight of research projects.  This approach ensures that FSMA funds only the most promising research, and that funded projects are run in a professional and efficient manner under the guidance of world-class experts.

In addition to funding critical research, FSMA is increasingly dedicating resources to areas that focus on improving patient care.  The organization will also announce new programs in this area over the next year.

About Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy:
Families of SMA funds and directs the leading SMA research programs to develop a treatment and cure for the disease.  The successful results and progress that the organization has delivered, from basic research to drug discovery to clinical trials, provide real hope for families and patients impacted by the disease.  The charity has invested over $50 million in research and been involved in funding half of all the ongoing novel drug programs for SMA.  Families of SMA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, with 31 Chapters and 85,000 members and supporters throughout the United States, and is dedicated to creating a treatment and cure by: funding and advancing a comprehensive research program; supporting SMA families through networking, information and services; improving care for all SMA patients; educating healthcare professionals and the public about SMA; enlisting government support for SMA; embracing all touched by SMA in a caring community.  For more information: www.curesma.org
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