What We Fund
CLINICAL AND RESEARCH GRANTS
The TMA supports academic clinical centers of excellence focused on rare neuroimmunologic disorders by awarding grants to support clinical and research staff, funding pilot research projects and the James T. Lubin Clinician-Scientist Fellowship.
The TMA has always been dedicated and focused on facilitating research to advance the development of novel acute and restorative therapies targeted at ADEM, NMO, ON and TM and the development of the most effective treatment strategies for the symptoms of these disorders. Our research efforts began with pivotal funding support for the establishment of the only center of excellence on transverse myelitis under the direction of Dr. Douglas A. Kerr at Johns Hopkins University through supporting research staff and clinician-scientists at the interdisciplinary Center. Through the support of the TM Center, the TMA enabled the first systematic collection of information about TM in both adult and pediatric cases of this disorder.
Currently, there are two Centers of Excellence– at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine under the leadership of Dr. Carlos Pardo and the University of Texas Southwestern under the direction of Dr. Benjamin Greenberg – dedicated to the study of these rare neuro-immunologic disorders. Through seed funding for innovative promising research ideas, in partnership with the clinicians at the Centers of Excellence, significant research has been conducted to better understand these rare neuro-immunologic disorders, and to develop improved acute therapies and symptom management strategies. This has led to increased knowledge and understanding of these disorders that has been disseminated to the medical community through numerous publications, which has been critical to the provision of care.
We have also partnered with the Accelerated Cure Project to support the collection of information and a biological repository of individuals who have ADEM, MS, NMO, ON and TM, a group of closely related disorders. Our goal is to facilitate and encourage the use of these samples in numerous studies that have been performed by scientists most of whom are researching evidence of biomarkers while trying to better understand the disease processes. Through this research, many individuals with ADEM, NMO, ON and TM have been characterized and are a critical resource for our understanding of these disorders.
The TMA supports and funds bi-annual clinical and research symposia, education and quality of life camps for children and young adults.
The Transverse Myelitis Association has been actively engaged in offering educational and support opportunities which include sponsoring camps for children and young adults affected by ADEM, NMO, ON and TM and international symposia in the field of rare neuro-immunologic disorders as continuing medical education for medical professionals. As a rare disease community, we are sensitive to the needs of bringing together people with these rare disorders and their caregivers to offer them the opportunity to share in their experiences, to help people feel less isolated, to foster social support and networking, to provide important education and to offer people hope for their futures. Funding summer camps for children, young adults and families affected by these disorders is a fundamental part of our efforts. Aimed at providing emotional support and connecting individuals affected by TM, NMO, ON and ADEM, the camps provide a critical education program to the families, and create the opportunity to strengthen the overall TM community. It is also the case that children often meet others with their disorder for the first time and parents form bonds of friendship and support that last for a lifetime.
The symposia and workshops offer educational opportunities to the medical community. By bringing together physicians who have an interest in these neuro-immunologic disorders, we are also encouraging research on these conditions and we provide opportunities for practitioners to come together to share their ideas about best treatment practices and research interests. Finally, these meetings offer individuals with the neuro-immunologic disorders, the physicians who treat them and researchers who study these disorders an opportunity to engage and socialize outside of a clinical setting. It has been our experience that the physicians who participate in our meetings have developed a close bond and devotion to the TMA community. For them, TM-NMO-ADEM-ON evolves from a collection of symptoms to a very human challenge that they are dedicated to understanding in the hope of improving the quality of lives of these people and their families.