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GSF Awards $135,000, Partners On Promising Gene Therapy Program

May 20, 2010 by Victoria Strong

Gwendolyn Strong Foundation Awards $135,000, Partners On Promising Gene Therapy Program

We are so excited to announce the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (GSF) has granted $135,000 to two promising cure focused SMA research programs. We have been working on these for months -- since a certain really exciting Facebook contest smile -- and we are beyond thrilled that the grant agreements are officially inked and, more importantly, that the money is now in the lab. Woohoo!

$135,000 To Two Promising Cure Focused Research Programs -- We have awarded $75,000 to FightSMA for their SMA gene therapy partnership with Dr. Brian Kaspar at Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University and $60,000 to Dr. Hans Keirstead at University of California, Irvine for his stem-cell based motor neuron replacement program. GSF's award to Dr. Kaspar will be used specifically to help fund a critical portion of his gene therapy program to prove safety and toxicity of the science. And our grant to Dr. Keirstead will be used exclusively to FULLY fund critical experiments requested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will enable the human clinical trial of this program.We are so very excited about the promise of both of these programs and are determined to make sure cure focused SMA research programs receive adequate funding to push them from the lab to clinical trial and hopefully on to effectively treating those impacted by this horrible disease -- SMA.

Our Personal Commitment To Continue Raising Earmarked Funds For Promising Programs -- While this most recent $60,000 award to Dr. Keirstead is in addition to over $170,000 GSF and its programs have donated in support of the stem-cell based motor neuron replacement program over the past 12 months, the $75,000 FightSMA grant is simply the beginning of a long-term partnership and commitment to continue raising funds specifically for Dr. Kaspar's exciting gene therapy program -- and any other cure focused programs that are in need of funding. FightSMA has a long-standing stake in gene therapies focused on SMA and they are now embarking on the next phase of this promising research through a partnership with Dr. Kaspar. This exciting research was recently published in the journal Nature Biotechnology and holds enormous potential. But, material amounts of funding is still needed. GSF is committed to helping move this research forward -- to accelerate it -- and we hope you will help us. Each dollar takes us one step closer to a cure and united our collective dollars will continue to have a material impact in funding promising SMA research such as Dr. Keirstead's motor neuron replacement program and Dr. Kaspar's gene therapy program.

Join Our Commitment --We know that none of this was or is possible without the passionate, relentless dedication of thousands of people around the world -- some impacted by SMA and some not -- who have rallied and continue to rally around GSF and its cause. We hope you will once again join us in uniting to END SMA as we push forward to fundraise specifically for promising programs. None of us can do this alone, but together we can END SMA -- one person and one dollar at a time.

If you are interested in fundraising for GSF and its programs, please email Victoria atvictoria@GwendolynStrongFoundation.org.

Click HERE or on the image below to read the official press release including quotes from Martha Slay, FightSMA President, and Dr. Hans Keirstead:

Talk About It

wow! Such promise for a cure....... You are making incredible strides in finding the cure to this cruel disease. I stand in awe of the incredible reach GSF has and of the life saving work you are dedicated to.
Posted by Penny on 2010-05-20 08:38:53
This is powerful stuff. I'm so glad that we're moving in such a positive direction with SMA research, and so fast. The SMA community is lucky to have you guys. Great work, and thanks for the update!
Posted by Cass on 2010-05-20 08:52:55
You guys are just incredible. Keep up the great work!
Posted by Laura Haywood on 2010-05-20 19:47:53

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