FightSMA Announces Inclusion of SMA in Defense Department’s Peer-Reviewed Research Program

This first-ever inclusion is a potential new source of funding for the fight against Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Online PR News – 26-May-2016 – Washington, DC – FightSMA is proud to announce that, for the first time, the U.S. Senate Appropriations committee has included spinal muscular atrophy as a research topic in the Defense Department’s Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill.

This exciting news comes as the result of months of advocacy by FightSMA’s researchers and families who conducted extensive outreach to key senators on the committee. The Defense Appropriations bill now heads to the full Senate for its consideration.

Now the door has been opened to a whole new level of funding from a completely new source.

“Up until today, spinal muscular atrophy was not able to compete for this category of funding,” said FightSMA Co-Founder Martha Slay. “Now the door has been opened to a whole new level of funding from a completely new source.”

Contingent upon enactment of the FY 2017 Defense spending bill, likely late this year, SMA research projects will be eligible for consideration next year by DOD’s Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, which has supported over $9.7 billion in innovative medical research over the past 25 years.

“We look forward to working closely with Congress as the Defense Appropriations bill works its way toward enactment and with the Department of Defense as it develops its fiscal year 2017 research agenda,” said Slay.

FightSMA ( is an all-volunteer, parent-led nonprofit dedicated to finding treatments for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic cause of infant death. The group has awarded research grants at 45 universities and research institutions in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. Celebrating its 25th year in 2016, FightSMA was an early funder in the hunt for the SMA gene. FightSMA has funded high-throughput screening for SMN gene upregulation, SMA mouse model research, SMA gene therapy research, and other SMA projects. In 2013, FightSMA played a leadership role in the successful passage of the National Pediatric Research Network Act.