Lee Sweeney, Ph.D., gets new Wellstone Center grant

Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics Professor Lee Sweeney, Ph.D., has been awarded a grant through the Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Center.

Dr. Sweeney’s project is focused on understanding the pathways and cell types that contribute to inflammation, fibrosis, and fatty deposition, but now will utilize an exciting new mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy that may greatly accelerate successful drug translation.

Past research by Dr. Sweeney led to the development of the first drug approved in Europe for the treatment of DMD, which is the most common form of muscular dystrophy in children.

The long-term goal of the UF MDCRC is to promote the translation of promising emerging therapeutic targets into clinical trials for muscular dystrophy patients. As such, there are discovery efforts for new therapeutic targets, ongoing examinations of possible therapeutics and their impact on disease models of muscular dystrophy, and efforts to build tools necessary for human clinical trials in the muscular dystrophies.

Currently the program is focused on identifying the underlying processes of inflammation, fibrosis, and fatty infiltration in DMD, and identifying means to counter them.

Dr. Sweeney’s project, alongside others at UF and Northwestern, are supported by a National Resource Service Core, directed by UF Professor Elisabeth Barton, which focuses on evaluation of mouse models of DMD. The Wellstone Center also has a Training and Education Core at the university, directed by Andrew Judge.