The Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research, and Education Amendments of 2001, also called the MD-CARE Act (P.L. 107-84), authorized the establishment of the Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee (MDCC) to develop a federal plan across NIH and other federal agencies and programs on research and education in the various forms of muscular dystrophy and authorized NIH to establish centers of excellence for muscular dystrophy research.
In response to the Act, the MDCC Action Plan for the Muscular Dystrophies was approved in December 2005, and the NIH established the Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers.
The NIH currently funds six Wellstone Centers through a U54 Cooperative Agreement mechanism, which permits significant Institute staff involvement in design and execution of the research program. The NICHD, NINDS, and NIAMS each fund two Wellstone Centers, and NHLBI provides partial funding for one Center. Each Wellstone Center brings together expertise, infrastructure, and resources focused on major questions in muscular dystrophy and provides resources used by national muscle biology and neuromuscular research communities. The Wellstone Centers also serve as focal points for research collaborations in the muscular dystrophy field and provide training for junior investigators interested in basic and clinical research on muscle diseases.
For more information, visit http://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/supported/Pages/mdcrc.aspx.