This past week, the UPenn Medicine Orphan Disease Center awarded the much anticipated 2016 Million Dollar Bike Ride research grant. The award is highly competitive and provides funds for a research proposal to investigate fibrous dysplasia and McCune-Albright syndrome (FD/MAS).
We’re thrilled to share that this year’s awardee is Dr. Mara Riminucci of Sapienza University of Rome.
Thanks to Team Captain Cindi Brandt Levin, this year the FD/MAS community raised $74,000 to support cutting edge research that may lead to effective treatments for FD/MAS patients. “I am so appreciative of researchers like Dr. Riminucci, UPENN and our friends, family and the FDF community for supporting this initiative,” said Brandt Levin, “This grant money came directly from your personal contribution, and we are so grateful for all of your support toward finding a cure and better treatments for the thousands of individuals suffering from FD and MAS.”
Dr. Riminucci’s proposal, “Transgenic models of fibrous dysplasia and models of intervention,” is a continuation of her labs previous award-winning work. “Based on the results obtained last year, we have refined our plan to address specific points that could prevent or revert FD lesions,” said Riminucci. Her winning proposal aims to understand the excess bone resorption and defective bone matrix mineralization that lead to bone fractures and deformities in FD patients. Dr. Riminucci’s research includes mice that have been genetically modified to have FD. “Last year we started to investigate the effect of anti-RANKL antibodies on the development of bone lesions in FD mice. Now, we can continue and expand research lines, targeting bone resorption with the same antibody and other pharmacological approaches.”
Dr. Riminucci’s proposal was among seven study proposals considered by the Scientific Advisory Council for this esteemed grant.
Members of the Fibrous Dysplasia Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Council reviewed each proposal’s potential and helped identify the most promising proposal. “All the applications were very high quality,” said Dr. Fred Singer, who helped review this year’s proposals and is a member of the Foundation’s board of directors. “More research funding would increase the chances of finding a treatment for fibrous dysplasia in the not too distant future.There is not a shortage of great ideas or qualified scientists, only a shortage of grants to fund them,” said Dr. Singer.
FD/MAS does not have any FDA-approved treatments, but many researchers believe that this could change soon. Dr. Riminucci’s lab is among several that have created animal models of FD/MAS. When a research team finally discovers a treatment approach that is effective in treating the mice, then researchers can prepare for clinical trials in humans.
The 2016 Million Dollar Bike Ride award means a great deal to Dr. Riminucci and her research. “Long-term studies on animal models are very expensive. The support of the FDF and the Million Dollar Bike Ride will allow us to complete our investigation. Our work might be important to develop specific treatments to modulate the clinical expression and the evolution of FD lesions in real patients.”
This project was funded through small donations from our community: FD/MAS patients, and friends and family. You can act today to support promising ideas from scientific researchers. Donations to the Fibrous Dysplasia Foundation support important research programs, including the Million Dollar Bike Ride. Click the button below to donate to the Fibrous Dysplasia Foundation.