Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), the largest non-profit organization in the U.S. focused on finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has awarded three separate $50,000 exploratory awards to researchers at The Ohio State University and the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as part of its ongoing cardiac initiative for Duchenne research.

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Jill Rafael-Fortney and Paul Janssen from The Ohio State University and Federica Montanaro from Nationwide Children’s Hospital each received $50,000 to continue their work in Duchenne research.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is associated with a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy,a form of heart disease that enlarges and weakens the heart muscle, preventing it from pumping blood efficiently. It progresses rapidly and is life-threatening in many cases. Heart issues affect all patients with Duchenne.

PPMD launched its cardiac initiative earlier this year, and to date has awarded over $1 million to cardiac-focused research, reaffirming the organization’s commitment to support therapies that will benefit all patients with Duchenne.

“The heart is a muscle too, so it is critical that cardiac health is considered when investigating therapeutics in Duchenne,” said Pat Furlong, founding president and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. “Dr. Rafael-Fortney, Dr. Janssen, and Dr. Montanaro, as well as the incredible institutions they are affiliated with, represent some of the most promising new developments in the Duchenne arena. We are so grateful that they are devoting their energies to our fight.”

Read more about the research targets in the press release.