Columbia receives up to $15 million from Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation

Columbia University has been awarded up to $15 million from the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Foundation. The grant will fund activities by Columbias newly established Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease to accelerate the discovery of medical advances for SMA, a devastating disease that is the number one genetic killer of infants and toddlers.

Were excited to work with Columbias Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease--in addition to being one of the best centers worldwide for the study of motor neuron biology and SMA, it has a staff of internationally renowned doctors eager to test the latest therapeutic approaches that emerge from laboratory research, said Loren Eng, co-founder and president of the SMA Foundation. We are confident that the centers leadership has the drive and expertise to fulfill the scientific promise of SMA research and create new, effective treatments.

The Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease, also referred to as the Motor Neuron Center (www.ColumbiaMNC.org), was founded at Columbia University in November 2005. It is a unique research center committed to focusing on the biology of the motor neuron and two diseases caused by motor neuron degeneration: SMA and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrigs Disease). Its mission is to create a cohesive translational research center where laboratory findings are quickly translated into new treatments for patients, and clinical learnings are regularly brought into the laboratory to shape new directions in research.

More than 40 leading researchers from numerous disciplines at Columbia University Medical Center and Columbia Universitys Morningside campus, including neurobiology, neurology, genetics, pathology, cell biology, physiology, anatomy, chemistry and pediatrics, have converged to form the center. The members include a Nobel Prize winner and three Investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Contact: Elizabeth Streich
Columbia University Medical Center

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