The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announces the schedule for the 2021 MDA Virtual Clinical and Scientific Conference, which will be held March 15-18. 

More than 1,200 neuromuscular clinicians and researchers from throughout the United States are expected to gather virtually to hear from more than 100 presenters on the latest clinical care and research advances for more than 40 neuromuscular diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

“MDA is the one organization that can bring together leading scientists from academia and industry, as well as clinicians who are working in the field, to learn the latest developments that will improve the lives of members of the neuromuscular community. Our conference is the most comprehensive neuromuscular disease meeting in the U.S., attended by the most influential researchers, health care professionals and decision makers.”

— MDA’s president & CEO, Donald S. Wood, PhD

Dr. Wood will kick off the conference with a keynote address on the promise of gene therapy for neuromuscular diseases and MDA’s role in supporting this research—present, past, and future.

The conference will feature 29 clinical and scientific sessions, each with multiple experts as presenters, as well as poster sessions each day that will highlight basic, translational, and clinical research. The entire fourth day will be devoted to oral presentations from selected abstracts submitted by scientific and clinical researchers. 

“This is a time of great promise and rapid advances in neuromuscular research and treatment, and our conference has become a prime destination for academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotech companies to report on their latest clinical trial findings. The MDA conference is also an important venue for sharing insights from preclinical studies.”

— Sharon Hesterlee, PhD, executive vice president & chief research officer for MDA

The conference will include scheduled live-broadcast sessions, on-demand videos, and virtual networking sessions. Ten translational and preclinical research sessions will be held, as will 10 clinical sessions that provide CME credits. Dozens of virtual exhibits will be available for attendees to visit throughout the conference.

Among the session highlights are:

  • “Impact of COVID on Neuromuscular Disease Care” – Chair: Nicholas Johnson, MD, MS-CI, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • “Telehealth in Neuromuscular Disease Care” — Chair: Mario Saporta, MD, PhD, MDSA, FAAN, Associate Professor of Neurology and Human Genetics and Director, CMT Center of Excellence, Neuromuscular Division, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  • “Therapeutic Considerations for Dominant Neuromuscular Diseases” — Chair: Beth Barton, PhD, Applied Physiology & Kinesiology and Acting Associate Dean for Faculty & Staff Affairs, University of Florida
  • “Clinical Trials in the Age of COVID-19” — Chair: Jeffrey Statland, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director, MDA Care Center, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • “New Biomarkers in Neuromuscular Disease Research” —  Chair: Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, Director Center for Genetic Medicine and Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • “MOVR and Real World Evidence” — Chair:  Rayne Rodgers, MPH, Vice President and Executive Director of MOVR, Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • “Ethical Considerations in Gene Therapy Trials” — Chair:  Kevin Flanigan, MD, Attending Neurologist at Nationwide Children’s and Robert F. and Edgar T. Wolfe Foundation Endowed Chair in Neuromuscular Research and Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, The Ohio State University College of Medicine

For more information about the conference agenda and to obtain research abstracts, visit the conference website. Oral presentations of select abstracts will take place March 18.

[Source(s): Muscular Dystrophy Association, PR Newswire]

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