The mission of the University of Massachusetts Medical School Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center for FSHD is to further our understanding of the underlying molecular, genetic and epigenetic pathologies of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) and to translate this basic understanding into the clinic through development of FSHD therapeutics. To achieve this objective, the Wellstone Center has established a large repository of FSHD muscle tissue and derived muscle cells, available to FSHD researchers worldwide, and developed a FSHD disease biomarker database and new disease models for pre-clinical research to develop FSHD therapeutics for clinical trials. The Center, led by Dr. Charles P. Emerson at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Dr. Louis Kunkel at Children's Hospital Boston, is an highly collaborative and multidisciplinary team of basic and clinical investigators with laboratories at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Children’s Hospital Boston, and Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, and partnered with the FSH Society for patient outreach activities and with biotech industry for therapeutic development. This partnership of basic, clinical and industry scientists with FSHD patients and their families enables the Wellstone Center to make unique contributions towards development of new treatments for this devastating disease and to provide leadership for FSHD research world-wide.
In addition to its contributions to research and therapeutic development, the Wellstone Program as developed a unique biorepository of FSHD muscle biopsy-derived stem cells that are available on request to FSHD researchers internationally as cell models of FSHD disease pathology. Wellstone Bioresources.