The University of Iowa Medical School will get a big grant to focus more attention on the problem of Muscular Dystrophy. Dr. Kevin Campbell will lead one of several research centers that share resources and services for national research into the disease. The group at the University of Iowa already had been functioning as a muscular-dystrophy center, without the title — they had several core facilities and were working with other beuro-scientists and neurologists around the country. It was easy to get the National Institutes of Health grant since they had everything in place. Campbell says the Iowa muscular dystrophy “center” doesn’t have a building of its own, or even an office. He says centers are groups of faculty that are interacting with a common goal, in this case to come up with treatments for Muscular Dystrophy. They’ll also move this year into the new Carver Research Building, so they’ll have a floor just for the MD center. Right now they’re working to fully diagnose all the different kinds of Muscular Dystrophy, so they’ll have a better understanding of the causes, and are testing various therapeutic strategies. There’s no cure for the disease right now, and few teratments for its symptoms. Campbell says they’re hoping to add to the research into the disease while they also work to come up with treatments. They share information and work all the time with five other centers around the country, including the cardiovascular center at the University of Iowa. The grant is a little under $1 million a year, for the next five years. Campbell says it’ll fund “an awful lot of research and investigators here at the University of Iowa.” Moving into the new Carver Building on the U of I campus is taking up a lot of the center’s time right now but Campbell says the researchers hope to have an open house by next year to show it off. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin sponsored a bill naming several Paul -D- Wellstone Research Centers, including the one at the U of I, after the Minnesota senator who died in a plane crash 2002.
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