Page content

Muscular Dystrophy UK has announced that it is investing £1.3 million into 11 new research projects including one at the Ulster University

The leading UK charity for more than 110,000 children and adults living with one of over 60 muscle wasting and weakening conditions will be funding two PhD studentships, two three-year project grants, three 12-month grants, and four two-year project grants that aim to improve diagnosis, monitor progression, and test potential new treatments.

Dr Stephanie Duguez, Researcher and Senior Lecturer at Ulster University’s School of Medicine was one of the successful applicants to receive a 12-month project grant. Dr Duguez and her team aim to improve the diagnosis and measuring of the progression of neuromuscular conditions, such as spinal muscular atrophy, by developing blood tests that can detect a specific class of molecule — amounts of which differ between people with and without a muscle wasting condition.

Dr Stephanie Duguez at Ulster University said:

“We hope that these new blood biomarkers can ultimately enable patients to get a confident diagnosis more quickly. 

“Our team at the Ulster University includes researchers who have had close relatives affected by muscle wasting and weakening condition, so the possibility to make a difference to patients would mean the world to us.”

Other successful researchers are based in Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford and Teesside.

Kate Adcock, Director of Research and Innovation at Muscular Dystrophy UK said:

“Here at Muscular Dystrophy UK we’re really pleased to fund groundbreaking research in Ulster to better understand the different muscle wasting and weakening conditions and lead us to new effective treatments. 

“Researchers have made incredible advances that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago and we’re proud to be able to support these new efforts.”

The charity not only funds research in Northern Ireland but also shares expert advice and support to live well now, works with the NHS towards universal access to specialist healthcare and campaigns for people’s rights, better understanding, accessibility, and access to treatments. There is a dedicated member of the charity’s Information, Advocacy and Care team in the country who can provide support and advice on topics such as benefits, equipment, housing, access to care and adaptations.

Muscular Dystrophy UK will be hosting a Northern Ireland Information Day in Lisburn, on 5 October 2023. The in-person event for adults living with a muscle wasting condition will hear from experts including a neuromuscular clinical nurse and neuromuscular physiotherapist.  Register for your free place today.

More details and information on Muscular Dystrophy UK’s research projects, visit Research | Muscular Dystrophy UK