Myasthenia gravis diagnosis and treatment have come a long way in 50 years. Technological advances have led to more timely and accurate diagnosis, and new and enhanced therapies have improved management of the disorder. Much knowledge has been gained about the structure and function of the neuromuscular junction, the fundamental aspects of the thymus gland and of autoimmunity, and the disorder itself. Despite these advances, however, there is still much to learn.
Through MGNet, Conquer MG works with academia, pharma and other patient advocacy groups to target its medical research funding. Click to learn about the work conducted by this network.
Participating in MG Clinical Studies
A number of MG treatments are in clinical trial stage. Visit https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/home to find studies that are recruiting participants.
How Clinical Studies Work
Learn what to expect from clinical trials by clicking one of these links:
- Your questions about clinical trials answered
- (Video) Clinical Trials Q&A: What Patient, Doctor & Pharma Do
Patient participation is a cornerstone of medical research. If you’d like to participate in studies related to autoimmune disease, or specifically to myasthenia gravis, you may want to consider:
- The Autoimmune Disease Registry (ARNet) – enables broad-based research into autoimmune disease including myasthenia gravis, sponsored by the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association
- MG Registry – enables myasthenia-specific research, sponsored by the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America
Research Funded by Conquer MG
Medical research resulting in a cure for MG is the ultimate goal of Conquer Myasthenia Gravis. Starting in 2020, Conquer MG’s research dollars are used to co-fund the MGNet Pilot Grant Award, to support the beginning stages of projects, and/or those new to the field of MG research. MGNet Pilot Grants are funded equally by Conquer MG, the NIH, and the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America.
In 2020, the MGNet Pilot Award went to Carolina Barnett-Tapia, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (Neurology) and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto.
Dr. Barnett-Tapia’s project, “Patient Preferences Regarding Symptoms and Side Effects from Treatments in Myasthenia Gravis: A Discrete Choice Experiment,” aims to explore the perspectives of myasthenia gravis (MG) patients regarding symptoms and side effects from treatment, focusing on the differences between physician and patient preferences. The project will also explore and demonstrate how using patient-centered preferences affects clinical trial design and drug development.
2019 and Earlier
In 2019, Conquer MG’s pilot research grant was awarded to Ruksana Huda, PhD (pictured, right), and Xiang Fang, MD, PhD (2nd from left), University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, for their study “Identifying specific HDACS as regulators of inflammatory gene expression in pathogenesis of myasthenia gravis.”
In 2018, Conquer MG awarded a research grant to Betty Solivin, MD, University of Chicago, for her study ““Exploring possible role of TGR5 and FXR in myasthenia gravis.”
In 2017, Conquer MG awarded a research grant to Kevin O’Connor, PhD, Yale University. Click here for a summary of Dr. O’Connor’s study, “Targeting the Pathogenic B Cells in Myasthenia Gravis”.
In 2016, Conquer MG awarded a research grant to Michael Demetriou, MD, PhD, University of California, Irvine, for his study, “Immunomodulatory Effects of N-glycosylation in Myasthenia Gravis Patients.”
In 2015, Conquer MG awarded research grants for these pilot studies:
- “Profiling of AChR-Specific B Cells in Myasthenia Gravis” by John Yi, Ph.D., Duke University
- “Evaluation of IL-17A as a Therapeutic Target for Myasthenia Gravis” by Henry Kaminski, M.D., George Washington University.
In addition, a second-year grant was awarded to Betty Soliven, M.D., University of Chicago, for her study “Regulatory B Cells in Myasthenia Gravis.”
In 2014, Conquer MG awarded research grants for these pilot projects:
- “Regulatory B Cells in Myasthenia Gravis,” a study by Betty Soliven, M.D., University of Chicago
- “Monoclonal Antibody Treatment of Anti-MuSK Myasthenia,” a study by David P. Richman, M.D., University of California, Davis
These research projects were chosen for funding because they represent unique, novel ideas that may open significant new avenues of research on MG. They also represent areas where preliminary data are lacking.
Conquer Myasthenia Gravis funds research through the Mary B. Prokop research bequest, plus donations from individuals and corporations. To donate to research sponsored by Conquer MG, be sure to note “Research” on your donation check. Or click here to donate online; then email firstname.lastname@example.org to specify that your gift be used for research.
Other MG research
Research for the cause and cure of any disease is a multi-stage, long-term process. While Conquer MG has chosen to support small academic pilot studies, funds for other MG studies come from a variety of sources.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), one of the Federal Government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), has primary responsibility for conducting and supporting research on myasthenia gravis. MG research also is being sponsored by organizations such as the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and by private companies.
A number of clinical trials involving new therapies for myasthenia gravis are underway. A clinical trial is a research study that uses human volunteers to answer a specific health question. If you would like to participate in an MG clinical trial, you can learn which studies are recruiting by visiting:
- www.clinicaltrials.gov. (Search on “myasthenia gravis.”) This website is a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). It offers up-to-date information for locating federally and privately supported clinical trials for a wide range of diseases and conditions.
- Conquer MG’s list of recruiting trials as of January 2020.
Page last updated January 2020.
Reviewed by the MGF of Illinois Medical Advisory Board, November 2015.
Unless otherwise stated, the information provided here is of a general nature, composed by non-medical personnel. It is meant to be accurate and helpful advice for MG patients. It is not intended to be medical opinion, nor is it a substitute for personal professional medical care.