The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have just hosted the Third International Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA) Scientific Conference at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, highlighting and advancing the exciting research leading now to a variety of clinical trials that show promise of developing treatments for this devastating disorder.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Director Story Landis, in her remarks opening the conference, said there is a "palpable sense of energy, excitement, and enthusiasm" over the scientific progress made since the FRDA gene was discovered 10 years ago. Nearly 150 leading Friedreich's ataxia scientists from around the world discussed their new insights and findings during four days of meetings at the NIH, November 9-12. The public-private partnership underlying this progress and highlighted by the conference involved the NIH, patient advocacy foundations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry representatives, and the scientists from academic institutions.
The government sponsors of the conference were the NIH Office of Rare Diseases (NIH/ORD) and NINDS. NIH/ORD was represented at the conference by Dr. Giovanna Spinella. NINDS was represented by its Director and a number of NINDS scientists long involved in advancing the therapeutic approaches examined during this meeting.