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Research Grants

We support research that will improve the lives of patients with myasthenia gravis and related neuromuscular junction disorders. The committee has identified five broad research priorities:

  • Biomarkers: facilitate early diagnosis, predict clinical outcomes and immunosuppressive therapy response and utilize in clinical trials
  • Disease Mechanisms: understand basic mechanisms and self-tolerance loss throughout course of disease
  • Targeted Therapies: develop new therapeutic targets, prevent widespread immunosuppression and off-target side effects, optimize treatment strategies with existing therapies 
  • Patient Outcomes: understand the full impact of disease on daily living and patient treatment priorities, understand collateral effects of disease; related medical conditions, side effects and financial impact
  • Pediatric Treatment: identify strategies, safety concerns, and long-term outcomes

The Research Agenda intends to guide researchers towards areas of importance to our Medical and Scientific Advisory Board. However, please do note that we will accept proposals outside of this scope to support promising science and innovation in the field of MG.

 

 

Grant Programs Summary

We support research that will improve the lives of patients with myasthenia gravis and related neuromuscular junction disorders. We have identified five broad research priorities: 1) Biomarkers; 2) Disease Mechanisms; 3) Targeted Therapies; 4) Patient Outcomes; and 5) Pediatric Treatment

 

To see our complete Research Agenda, please see here.

 

Grant Funding Areas

  • High-Impact Pilot Project Awards: pilot studies leading to new federal, pharmaceutical or private foundation supported investigations
  • Transformative Research Awards: focused, innovative investigations that are highly likely to produce fundamental alterations in understanding myasthenia gravis
  • Targeted Research and Special Projects Awards: further greater understanding of MG and its impact on quality of life
  • Awards to Engage and Support Young Investigators and Clinicians: recognize the importance of good clinical research and encourage young investigators’ involvement in clinical studies

 

The above priorities are intended to guide researchers towards areas of importance to our Medical and Scientific Advisory Board. However, please do note that we will accept proposals outside of this scope to support promising science and innovation in the field of MG.

 

Grant Opportunities & How to Apply

NEW GRANT OPPORTUNITY: 

MGFA and American Brain Foundation Partnering on New Clinical Research Award for MG

MGFA is partnering with the American Brain Foundation on a clinical research award for myasthenia gravis. The application opens on July 1 and runs through October 1. Here is the link with details: https://www.aan.com/education-and-research/research/aan-research-program/clinician-scientist-development-award-in-myasthenia-gravis/

 

This award aims to recognize the importance of good clinical research and to encourage young investigators in clinical studies related to myasthenia gravis. It will consist of a commitment of $75,000 per year for three years, plus a $5,000 per year stipend to support education and research-related costs for a total of $240,000. Supplementation of the award with other grants is permissible, but to be eligible to apply for this award, the other grant source(s) cannot exceed $80,000 annually.

Please only submit one application - applicants are not allowed to submit applications for more than one award. Your application will also be considered for all relevant clinician-scientist development awards.

IMPORTANT DATES

October 1, 2021: Application deadline: Note that this is the deadline for all documents, including those from the mentor and chair. Applications will be declined if this information is not submitted by October 1.

January 2022: Notification of recipients

July 1, 2022: Funding begins

 

High-Impact Pilot Projects on Myasthenia Gravis and Related Neuromuscular Junction Disorders:

We request submission of proposals to support pilot studies that are highly focused and innovative, with a clear plan that will lead to new federal, pharmaceutical or private foundation supported investigations.

 

REMINDER: Letters of Intent (LOI) for the 2021 funding opportunity are due on March 25, 2021. CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD the LOI guidelines form.  If you have been invited to submit a proposal, full proposals are due by June 22, 2021.  For 2021 Research Funding announcement details and all Required Submission Paperwork, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Targeted Research Opportunity:  Advancing Knowledge of Treatment and Disease Management in Seronegative MG Patients
People diagnosed with seronegative myasthenia gravis – and their clinicians – face special challenges. Seronegative MG has been a relatively neglected area of research in the field, leading to uncertainty about patient outcomes and how to optimally manage patients. The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America requests submission of proposals that will lead to greater understanding of seronegative MG, particularly in determining treatment and disease management paradigms, and what may be most successful.

 

Transformative Research Awards for Myasthenia Gravis and Related Neuromuscular Junction Disorders: We request submission of proposals to support investigations that are focused, innovative and highly likely to produce fundamental alterations in the understanding of myasthenia gravis and related disorders.

 

Nursing Research Grant: Multiple grants are awarded annually to nursing students interested in studying problems encountered by patients with MG or related neuromuscular disorders.
The application process for this grant is currently closed.

 

Clinician-Scientist Development Award: MGFA and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation provide a three-year award to support a clinician-scientist’s research related to myasthenia gravis. This award aims to recognize the importance of good clinical research and encourage young investigators in clinical studies. This three-year award provides an annual salary of $75,000 plus an annual $5,000 for educational expenses. Only direct costs are funded by this award.
The application process for this grant is currently closed.

 

Dr. John Newsom-Davis Memorial Award for Neurology Residents-in-Training: To commemorate Dr. John Newsom-Davis’ life and his dedication to improving treatment of patients with myasthenia gravis, we are honored to continue the spirit of his work with this award.  Awards are provided to registrars, residents or fellows who wish to present their MG related research at a recognized professional event or gathering, such as MGFA’s Scientific Session, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) or American Neurological Association (ANA) meetings, or other scientific gatherings. Funding considerations may also include travel and lodging for a resident to attend a meeting that might significantly further his or her understanding of MG and related autoimmune diseases.

 

To request support, please contact:
MGFA@myasthenia.org
(800) 541-5454

 

Donations to the Dr. John Newson-Davis fund can be made on the MGFA Donation page.

If your proposal does not fit into the above-listed categories, researchers and scientists can approach us with promising ideas. We maintain a “Research Opportunity Fund” to support projects that can further greater understanding of MG and its impact on quality of life.  Examples of projects funded include:  the development of MG treatment guidelines; a study on the effectiveness of thymectomy in MG; and a study on the effectiveness of current MG treatments (PROMISE-MG).

 

Current and Recent Grantees
 

We wish to congratulate and honor our recent grantees:  

 

2020:

Pilot Grants

Identification of biomarkers that leverage mechanisms of autoantibody pathology in AChR MG ($55,000 - One Year Award)

Dr. Kevin O’Connor

Yale University

MG is characterized by the presence of acetylcholine receptor antibodies in the blood, which cause the disease by different mechanisms which are not fully understood. We are developing a group of assays that classify and quantify these antibody types to predict treatment response, monitor disease progression, and enable personalized therapeutic decisions that avoid severe side effects.

 

Measuring adverse event burden in myasthenia gravis: Validation on adverse event unit ($55,000 - One Year Award)

Dr. Michael Hehir

University of Vermont

There is increasing emphasis on long term side effect burdens for patients with MG as we attempt to understand differences between treatments. Understanding the side effect burden is paramount when designing unique treatment strategies. We have created a patient and physician consensus unit (akin to currency such as the US Dollar) called the Adverse Event Unit (AEU) to better measure this burden. The goal of the project is to evaluate the validity, utility, and feasibility of using the AEU as a measure of MG treatment burden.

 

Seronegative Grants

Defining the clinical phenotype and immunopathology of seronegative MG ($150,000 - 2 Year Award)

Dr. Jeffrey Guptill - Duke University

Dr. Kevin O’Connor – Yale University

Seronegative MG (SNMG) is a disease subset of MG defined by the absence of detectable autoantibodies that are otherwise present in a majority of patients. Little is known about SNMG and it has not been well-studied. Two major goals of this project include: 1) to better understand the characteristics of SNMG patients, and 2) to better understand the abnormal immune system functions that contribute to this disease subset. This work will define the features that will lead to better treatment guidance in the future.

 

2019:

  • 2019 High Impact Pilot Project Grant Award: Amanda C. Guidon, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, Neuromuscular Diagnostic Center, “Evaluation of automated techniques for decoding speech and movement abnormalities in myasthenia”  $55,000
  • 2019 High Impact Pilot Project Grant Award: Jeffrey T. Guptill, M.D., Duke University, “Metabolic Pathways of Pathogenic Th17 Cells in Myasthenia Gravis”  $55,000
  • 2019 High Impact Pilot Project Grant Award: Ricardo A. Maselli, M.D., University of California Davis, “CSF Delivery of AAV9-mediated gene therapy of congenital myasthenic syndrome due to CHAT mutations”  $55,000
  • 2020-2022 Research Contract: University of Alabama at Birmingham, "MG Patient Registry" $329,827

2018:

  • 2018 High Impact Pilot Project Grant Award: Andrew Engel, M.D., Mayo Clinic, "Genetic Basis of Unsolved Congenital Myasthenic Syndromes and the Role of the AChR-CYS Loop Length in AChR Activation" $50,000

2017:

  • 2017 High Impact Pilot Project Grant Award: David P. Richman, M.D., University of California, Davis, "Targeted Therapy of Myasthenia Gravis with Chimeric Autoantibody Receptor T Cells" $50,000

2016:

  • 2016-2019 Clinician-Scientist Development Award: Post-doctoral fellowship to Michael Hehir, M.D., University of Vermont Medical Center, "Immunosuppressive Cost Unit: A Novel Method to Assess the Value and Cost of Immunosuppressant Side Effects" $160,000
  • 2016-2018 Transformative Research Award for Myasthenia Gravis and Related Neuromuscular Junction Disorders: Jeffrey Guptill, M.D., Duke University, "Role of CD4 T cell Subsets as Drivers of MG Disease" $275,000
  • 2016-2018 Research Opportunity Fund Award: Duke University, "PROMISE-MG Study meeting to expand research sites under Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) grant"  $30,270
  • 2016-2018 Research Contract: University of Alabama at Birmingham, "MG Patient Registry" $312,952
  • 2016 Extension Research Opportunity Grant Award: Jeffrey Guptill, M.D., Duke University, "B10 Cells in MG/ Generate pilot polychromatic flow cytometry data on the role of B10 cells in a broad population of MG patients" $50,000
  • 2016 Extension Research Opportunity Grant Award: Linda L. Kusner, Ph.D., George Washington University, "GWU/Anti-apoptotic Mechanisms in Persistence of Autoimmune Myasthenia Gravis" $50,000
  • 2015 Continuation Research Opportunity Grant Award: Ricardo Maselli, M.D., University of California Davis, "Stem-cell treatment of congenital myasthenia associated with endplate acetylcholinesterase deficiency" $50,000
  • 2015 Continuation Research Opportunity Grant Award: Ruksana Huda, Ph.D., University of Texas Medical Branch, "Novel cell specific therapy for autoimmune myasthenia" $50,000

A World Without MG