About Us

The Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne raises about $500,000 per year to support translational research in DMD.  A major goal is ‘seed funding’ for key infrastructure developments that would be expected to have a major impact on facilitating therapeutic advances worldwide.

Examples of previous seed funding efforts that have continued to become high-impact translational projects include:

  • Cooperative International Neuromuscular Research Group (CINRG). FED recognized that an international academic clinical trial network was needed to facilitate DMD therapeutic research.  The establishment of CINRG was a major focus of FED and related Department of Defense CDMRP funding beginning in 2001.  CINRG has carried out the largest natural history study of DMD (CINRG DNHS), and this data is currently used to benchmark effects of drugs in initial open label trials by multiple pharmaceutical companies.
  • Mdx mouse testing methods and consensus standard operating procedures. FED hosted the first international workshop to discuss consensus SOPs for measurement of the therapeutic effects of experimental drugs in the mdx mouse model of DMD.  This process was then carried forward collaboratively between TREAT-NMD and Children’s National Medical Center, with support from FED.  FED supported the initiation of a centralized mdx testing facility at Children’s National Medical Center, that then out-grew the academic setting and was spun off to AGADA BioSciences in 2013.
  • Exon-skipping drug development. FED was an initial support of research into exon-skipping drug development, including support of IND-enabling toxicity studies via the DoD CDMRP, and proof-of-concept studies in DMD dogs  leading to the first clinical trials of exon-skipping using morpholino chemistries in DMD boys.  This work has culminated in the filing of a FDA NDA for NS Pharma exon 53 therapies.
  • Vamorolone drug development. FED worked with DoD CDMRP program (see Page 45) to support the understanding of corticosteroid efficacy and safety in DMD; this work culminated in the development of the first-in-class small molecular drug vamorolone (VBP15).  Vamorolone clinical trials in DMD, carried out by the CINRG network, have shown efficacy in DMD open label trials, and a pivotal Phase III trial is expected to be completed in 2020.
  • Mobile health outcomes development. Participation in clinical trials is critical to advance therapeutic approaches to DMD, but trials are a significant burden on the patients, and their families.  One emerging approach to lessen the burden on families, while providing ‘real world’ data on how the DMD patient is doing in his community, is through mobile health measures (wrist watches or other devices that monitor activity and health in ‘real time’).  Roxanna Bendixen, an Occupational Therapist at University of Pittsburgh is spearheading efforts to use the ActiGraph wrist monitor in measures of sleep, and of vamorolone in clinical trials.

 

Projects supported by FED:

2018

Defining serum biomarkers of early-age severity for DMD. Utkarsh Dang. Binghamton University School of Pharmacy
Evaluating the effects of TGFbeta and STAT3 inhibition on improving muscle regeneration in the DBA/2J-mdx mouse model. Davi Mazala. Children’s National Medical Center
Osteoporotic Fractures in Boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Comparative Study of Conventional Steroid Therapy versus Vamorolone. Leanne Ward.  Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa (CHEO)
Support for initiation of an Expanded Access Protocol for long-term DMD patient access to vamorolone ReveraGen BioPharma
Inhibition of exosome signaling as a potential therapeutic in DMD. Alyson Fiorillo. Children’s National Medical Center

2017

Arm assist device clinical trial Roxanna Bendixen, Partners in Medicine. University of Pittsburgh
ILARIS clinical trial Chris Spurney, Children’s National Medical Center
ILARIS in vitro study AGADA BioSciences
Optimization exon skipping James Novak. Children’s National Medical Center
Biomarkers consensus workshop Laurie Conklin, Eric Hoffman, Yetrib Hathout; Binghamton University, ReveraGen
Advocacy Annie Kennedy, PPMD

2016

Advocacy Annie Kennedy, PPMD
Sleep efficiency in young boys with DMD and their Caregivers. Roxanna Bendixen, University of Pittsburgh
Investment in TRINDS LLC Ownership in www.trinds.com
microRNA research

vamorolone research

exon-skipping research

Alyson Fiorillo

Christopher Heier

James Novak

Children’s National Medical Center

DMD Robotics project Symbionics, Netherlands

2015

Advocacy Annie Kennedy, PPMD
Microsoft Band mobile outcomes in VBP15 Phase 2a Roxanna Bendixen, University of Pittsburgh
TREAT-NMD reception at CIAB Newcastle University

 

Leadership

 

Board of Directors
Joel Wood, President
Scott Sinder, Secretary
James Wood, Treasurer
Dan Carson, Director
Dave Heil, Director
Brad Todd, Director
Advisors
Dr. Eric Hoffman
Dana Wood
Monica Heil
Tina Carson

Financial & Tax Information

FED strives to be transparent in our work. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions, or to view our most recent IRS form 990 and audited financial statements.

What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?

The words “incurable” and “untreatable” have been closely associated with Duchenne.  It is an X-chromosome disease that afflicts boys, and it will never be eliminated through genetic screening because the dystrophin gene is the largest gene in body – times ten – and thus much more prone to have flaws that are not inherited.

The trajectory of this disorder is insidious.  Duchenne boys typically are not diagnosed until they are four years old or older.  They tend to get better in the so-called “honeymoon” stage, which usually lasts until the early teenage years.  But their muscles are deteriorating and cannot regenerate.  Dystrophin is part of the chemical glue that holds muscle cell walls together, and those walls eventually collapse and are filled with collagen that causes fibrosis.  First the legs give out, slowly, then, the arms and upper body.  The disease moves from skeletal muscle to smooth muscle tissue.  Lungs and hearts deteriorate.  Corticosteroid treatment forestalls the muscle deterioration, but steroids have terrible side effects such as making bones brittle.

You get the picture.  Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is excruciating, ruthless, sadistic, and painful.  More than anything, it is cruel.