Date: 16-18 November 2008
Venue: Valencia, Spain 

Ten years ago Alan Emery wrote in the preface of Neuromuscular Disorders: Clinical and Molecular Genetics the following comments: “It has been estimated that more that one person in every 3000 has a serious disabling inherited neuromuscular disorder. The suffering caused by these disorders is considerable, but, until the last decade or so, virtually nothing was known of their pathogenesis. Any rationale approach to treatment was therefore out of the question. However, matters are now changing rapidly. The genes for many of these disorders have been localised and characterised and their gene products identified and studied. The detection of preclinical disease, the identification of heterozygous carriers and prenatal diagnosis are all becoming possible, and, hopefully, effective treatments may no be too far distant.” Now, ten years later, more genes associated with neuromuscular disorders have been reported, confirming the wide genetic heterogeneity of most of diseases of the peripheral nervous system. Thinking genetically has become more important and more compelling. It allows the unequivocal diagnosis of neonatal, pediatric and adult diseases whose etiology has a genetic basis, thus providing a more accurate prediction of natural history and prognosis, and reproductive planning for the family, not only offering genetic counselling and prenatal diagnosis but also preimplantational genetic diagnosis. Moreover, for a number of them molecular and cell pathogenesis is suggesting new molecular targets and, more relevant, novel therapeutic approaches are currently developing to manage and treat these disorders, including new drugs and gene and cellular therapies.

The aim of the symposium is to discuss the state-of –the-art of neuromuscular diseases as a whole, including muscular dystrophies, mitochondrial disorders, peripheral neuropathies, spinal muscular atrophy, motoneurone disease and Friedreich ataxia. We will be able to confront and compare pathogenic mechanisms and molecular targets for the different diseases, as a forum for discussion of the rational basis of the new therapeutic approaches.


The legacy of Marie Schlau: literature to help cure Friedreich's Ataxia

If you feel like reading an unputdownable novel while collaborating with a just and solidary cause, "The Legacy of Marie Schlau" is your book! 100% of all funds raised will be dedicated to medical research to find a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia, a neurodegenerative disease that affects mostly young people, shortening their life expectancy and confining them to a wheelchair.

The life of Marie Schlau, a German Jewish girl born in 1833 hides great unsolved mysteries: accidents, disappearances, enigmas, unknown diagnoses, disturbing murders, love, tenderness, greed, lies, death ... alternatively a different story unfolds every time and takes us closer to the present. Thus, there are two parallel stories unravelling, each in a different age and place, which surprisingly converge in a revelatory chapter.

Paperback and Kindle versions for "The legacy of Marie Schlau" available for sale at Amazon now!


Research projects currently being financed by BabelFAmily

Currently, BabelFAmily is financing two promising research projects aimed at finding a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia. Whenever you make a donation to us or purchase a copy of "The legacy of Marie Schlau", this is where all funds raised will be devoted to:

1) Gene Therapy for Friedreich's Ataxia research project:

The project is the result of an initiative of Spanish people affected by this rare disease who are grouped in GENEFA in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Ataxias and the BabelFAmily. The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), one of the main patients’ associations in the United States now joins the endeavour.

2) Frataxin delivery research project:
The associations of patients and families Babel Family and the Asociación Granadina de la Ataxia de Friedreich (ASOGAF) channel 80,000 euros of their donations (50% from each organisation) into a new 18-month project at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). The project specifically aims to complete a step necessary in order to move towards a future frataxin replacement therapy for the brain, where the reduction of this protein causes the most damage in patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia.

The study is headed by Ernest Giralt, head of the Peptides and Proteins Lab, who has many years of experience and is a recognised expert in peptide chemistry and new systems of through which to delivery drugs to the brain, such as peptide shuttles—molecules that have the capacity to carry the drug across the barrier that surrounds and protects the brain. Since the lab started its relation with these patients’ associations in 2013*, it has been developing another two projects into Friedrich’s Ataxia.



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