$1 billion goal announced for UAB’s largest-ever fundraising campaign

The University of Alabama at Birmingham today officially kicked off the public phase of The Campaign for UAB: Give Something, Change Everything, the university’s largest fundraising campaign to date, announcing an ambitious $1 billion goal.

The campaign will run through 2018.

“The theme reflects the fact that, when you give to UAB, you help us change our community and our world for the better, whether by finding the cure for a disease, enabling a bright young person to go to college or lighting the spark for a new innovation,” UAB President Ray L. Watts said. “We are working hard to strengthen our position as one of the nation’s most productive and dynamic universities. To accomplish this goal, we are going to set our priorities, invest resources carefully and invite partners to join us.”

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UA team part of breakthrough research on Parkinson's disease

A team of scientists including researchers at the University of Alabama has identified a chemical compound that helps enhance a brain cell’s ability to combat the effects of blocks formed by a protein linked to Parkinson’s Disease.

The collaborative research was led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology biology professor Susan Lindquist, along with researchers at UA, Harvard University, Purdue University and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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NeuroNEXT is pleased to announce funding for our third approved trial: "Rituximab in Myasthenia Gravis".

Richard J. Nowak, MD, MS, Yale University School of Medicine, is the Protocol Principal Investigator for the study “A Phase II Trial of Rituximab in Myasthenia Gravis” (NN103). Other primary investigators include Drs. Jonathan M. Goldstein, Richard J. Barohn, Mazen M. Dimachkie, Kevin C. O’Connor and David A. Hafler.

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder of neuromuscular transmission with an estimated annual incidence of about 1-2 per 100,000 and prevalence as high as 20-50 per 100,000. Treatment consists of symptomatic therapy with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and immunotherapy such as corticosteroids, azathioprine, cyclosporine, plasma exchange (PLEX) and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). Despite current therapies a subset of patients remain medically refractory or have intolerable medication adverse effects. There is need for another agent in the management of MG as there are few effective drugs.

This research study is being conducted to determine the safety, tolerability and activity of rituximab administered in two four-week infusion cycles separated by six months in subjects with myasthenia gravis. The study will be conducted by the NINDS-funded Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT) at NeuroNEXT sites around the United States. Fifty participants age 21 and older will be enrolled. The Clinical Coordination Center is at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Data Coordination Center is at the University of Iowa.

The following fifteen institutions have been selected to participate in the study:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine Yeshiva University

Weill Cornell Medical Center

Ohio State University

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of California - Davis

University of California - Los Angeles

University of Cincinnati

University of Colorado Denver

University of Kansas Medical Center

University of Miami School of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

University of Rochester

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

University of Virginia - Charlottesville

Yale University

The study intervention is provided by Genentech Pharmaceuticals.

For more information related to the University of Alabama at Birmingham site please contact Shirley Gibbs at 205-975-0447.

Alabama chicken farmer glad UAB will study mysterious muscle-twisting disease triggered in him by tornado

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- When a tornado hit his home during the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak, James Edward, a Marshall County chicken farmer feared for his family's safety and his community.

As volunteer fire chief, there was a lot to do and the pain in his neck took a back seat.

He thought he had pulled a muscle. Turned out it was the onset -- perhaps triggered by the stress of the tornado -- of a somewhat mysterious but not uncommon condition called dystonia.

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