What to Expect from the 2021 MDA Clinical and Scientific Conference: Sharon Hesterlee, PhD


The executive vice president and chief research officer of the MDA gave an overview of the upcoming virtual annual meeting and her insight on what to look for.

“The meeting covers the entire neuromuscular space…everything from ALS, SMA, to muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis—the full range of disorders. It starts off in a logical progression as the meeting goes on from basic research and translational research, all the way to clinical research and clinical trial results.”

The upcoming Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) 2021 Clinical and Scientific Conference is expected to kick-off virtually on March 15, with more than 1200 attendees from around the world anticipated to be joining the sessions. In line with its efforts to represent the breadth of neuromuscular disease, more than 100 presentations on more than 40 neuromuscular disorders will be featured during the meeting.

A few of the key presentations that Sharon Hesterlee, PhD, pointed out included a few sessions focused on the impact of COVID-19 on neuromuscular disease care as well as clinical trial enrollment and execution. Additionally, a presentation centered around novel biomarkers in the space will be given by Rayne Rodgers, MPH, the vice president and executive director of the MOVR Data Hub (neuroMuscular ObserVational Research), and a conversation about the ethical considerations in gene therapy trials in the field is scheduled with Kevin Flanigan, MD, of Nationwide Children’s and The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

To find out more about what the clinical community can expect to get from this year’s meeting, NeurologyLive checked in with Hesterlee. The MDA’s executive vice president and chief research officer provided an overview and the highlights of the meeting, how MDA has adapted to virtual events, as well as what she’s hoping attendees will be able to take away from it.

For the conference agenda, click here. Abstracts are currently available on the conference website. For more coverage of MDA 2021, click here.

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