Originally published on March 6, 2014.

A critical way Cure SMA advances research is by hosting and financially supporting The SMA Research Group Meeting. The meeting is the largest SMA research conference in the world.  For 18 years, Cure SMA has hosted the conference with the goal of bringing the leading researchers from around the world together to share the latest scientific advances.   Multiple events are planned for researchers and families to interact. The 2014 meeting is being held June 12 to14 at the Gaylord National in the Washington DC area.

One Researcher said, “This meeting is the best of its kind. The value of meeting with researchers, physicians and parents all in one place is immeasurable.  Parents see how much we care, physicians see  how much work is required for drug development, and researchers see how much their hard work is appreciated.”

This year one hundred presentations will be given at the conference.  There will be seven invited talks during the special session on “Moving beyond SMN?  Strategies to Identify Non-SMN Drug Targets for SMA”,  a plenary talk by Dr. Edward Kaye of Sarepta Therapeutics on “The Drug Development Strategy for Eteplirsen in DMD”, as well as 30 talks and over 60 poster presentations selected by our Scientific Advisory Board from submitted abstracts.

Over 50 organizations from 10 countries around the world will present new SMA research at the conference. In addition, we expect almost 250 researchers overall to attend the conference to learn about the latest developments in SMA research.

The conference has many benefits for the entire SMA community:

•    To enable open communication of early, unpublished scientific data, accelerating the pace of research.
•    To provide a forum to discuss timely topics in SMA openly with the entire research community.
•    To create a sense of community among SMA researchers, resulting in productive research partnerships.
•    To promote cross-disciplinary dialog among basic researchers, clinicians, and industry representatives.
•    To provide a venue to efficiently integrate new researchers and drug companies into the community.
•    To promote interaction between trainees and leaders in the field to build the future of the SMA research community.
•    To motivate SMA researchers by providing direct interaction with patients living with SMA.