Meet the Recipients of Six ACT for FOP and Million Dollar Bike Ride Pilot Grants
Your generosity has made 6 new FOP research grants a reality! The IFOPA has recently completed contracting and we're pleased to announce the recipients of 4 new ACT for FOP research grants and 2 new Million Dollar Bike Ride grants.
The In Pursuit of a Cure Campaign, held in August 2020, provided more than $243,000 in funding for the ACT for FOP Grant Program. This year's grantees include:
- The first-ever FOP research grant in Israel, which is funding a small pilot study at the Meir Medical Center to expand our understanding of IL-1 inhibition in FOP and its role as a potential treatment against flares.
- An in vivo gene-editing study that is a collaboration between Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Dental School and the University of Michigan. The study is designed to develop a gene therapy that empowers the patients’ cells to express an inhibitor of Activin A. The hope is that, upon injury, a patient’s own cells could automatically protect against the development of FOP lesions.
- Year two funding for Navrogen who is developing antibody-based therapeutic strategies targeting ACVR1 and the immune response in FOP heterotopic ossification (HO). Grant funds will enable the further development and preclinical testing of the immune-based agents in vivo for efficacy and safety, as the next step towards possible human testing.
- Funding of a collaborative study between Emory University and the University of California, San Francisco to test the combined effects of blocking IL-1β and removing gut bacteria on flare progression and HO formation in FOP mice.
Learn more about the 2020 ACT for FOP Research Grants
The IFOPA partnered with the Penn Orphan Disease Center Million Dollar Bike Ride Pilot Grant Program to fund two additional FOP research grants. Each grantee received a $40,000, one-year grant. This year's grantees include:
- A collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania and Navrogen to investigate the expression and involvement of GM-CSF (an inflammation-associated cytokine) and the GM-CSF receptor (which has previously been shown to be very highly expressed in early FOP HO). These studies will use a specific GM-CSF antibody to determine its efficacy in blocking HO in an FOP mouse model.
- Funding for additional studies by Emory University and the University of California, San Francisco. This project will determine whether introducing specific anti-inflammatory bacteria to the gut microbiota can regulate the severity of injury-induced flares in FOP mice. Unlike commercially available supplements, the probiotics in these studies will include highly potent live bacteria specifically selected for their newly discovered roles in regulating musculoskeletal diseases.
Learn more about the 2020 Million Dollar Bike Ride Pilot Grant Program Research Grants
Researchers interested in 2021 funding can learn more at ifopa.org/for_researchers.