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Muscular Dystrophy Association Tours System Facilities, Presents Award

Leaders from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) recently visited Carolinas HealthCare System to recognize more than three decades of teamwork and to learn about the latest work in research and treatments of various neuromuscular diseases.

Steven M. Derks, president and CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Rodney Howell, MD, chairman of the board, first toured the McColl-Lockwood Laboratory for Muscular Dystrophy Research.

They were joined by Carolinas HealthCare System’s Susan Sparks, MD, PhD, and Qi Lu, MD, PhD, who demonstrated how they are striving to find innovative approaches for treatment, with an emphasis on pre-clinical testing, new drug development, gene therapy and other molecular therapies.

Mr. Derks and Dr. Howell later toured Carolinas Neuromuscular/ALS-MDA Center Clinic at CMC Neurology. The program is internationally recognized for its clinical care, research and education for degenerative neuromuscular diseases, such as Duchenne, limb girdle muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Several clinic members, along with Benjamin Brooks, MD, director of Carolinas Neuromuscular Center, were on hand to discuss how their work and the MDA provides support for the treatment of many neuromuscular and ALS patients. Dr. Brooks also discussed what’s next for ALS, such as his plans to improve care for ALS patients who are on ventilators and are ineligible to participate in clinical trials.

The visit ended with the presentation of a plaque commemorating the 35 years of teamwork between Carolinas HealthCare System and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This period included the last 15 years of the formal existence of the Carolinas Neuromuscular/ALS-MDA Center Clinic at Carolinas HealthCare System, supported by local philanthropy through Carolinas HealthCare Foundation that also involved the Pinstripes Fund, Mike Rucker ALS Care Fund and Holt Communications Laboratory Fund.

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