Welcome to the Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Research Center

Groundbreaking legislation by the Congress of the United States has accelerated research in muscular dystrophy since 2001. The law is the Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research, and Education (MD-CARE) Act. This legislation was amended in September 2014 to further strengthen and fast track new research for all muscular dystrophies.

One key component of this law is to support centers of excellence in muscular dystrophy research. Each center is called a Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center (MDCRC). The goals of the MDCRC are to study the causes for and develop specific treatments for individuals affected by one of the different types of muscular dystrophy. The Wellstone MDCRC is designed to share medical technologies and expertise (Scientific Core). Each Wellstone Center teaches and trains new researchers in the field of muscular dystrophy (Educational Core). Each Center also conducts groundbreaking research in cells and animal models of the diseases and pursues studies patients with muscular dystrophy (Research Projects). Each Center is funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The University of Rochester (UR) was one of the first of these Wellstone Centers and was established in 2003 to study myotonic dystrophy and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Our University of Rochester Wellstone MDCRC has received support from the NIH by five-year grants: 2003-2008 (Cycle 1); 2008-2013 (Cycle 2); and 2013-2018 (Cycle 3).

Learn more about our UR Wellstone Cores and Research Projects here for Cycles 1-3 (2003-2018).

Strengths of the University of Rochester Medical Center MDCRC

  • Comprised of world-renowned investigators and research professionals in the Department of Neurology.
  • Connected with the NIH supported Clinical and Translational Science Institute at URMC, one of the first nationwide centers of excellence in translational research, designed to bring new preventive interventions, diagnostic procedures and treatments to patients and communities faster than ever before.
  • Supported by dedicated and well-characterized patients with myotonic dystrophy (DM) and patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) in the NIH sponsored National Registry who are eager to participate in clinical studies.
  • Successful in developing new experimental therapies for DM and preparing to test these and other new drugs in patients with DM.