Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), a nonprofit organization leading the fight to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne), and Duchenne Parent Project NL based in the Netherlands, will host an international robotics workshop today in London.
In the last few years, several technology companies and engineers have begun to explore assistive devices that could potentially help people living with Duchenne. This workshop will bring many of these companies together to share their products and progress with leading Duchenne-specific patient advocacy groups.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood. The condition affects approximately one in every 3,500-5,000 live male births. Duchenne is caused by mutations in dystrophin, a key protein in muscle signaling pathways. As Duchenne progresses and muscles weaken, people with Duchenne lose many of their basic motor functions, and in turn, their independence. Now companies are interested in developing products that would relieve the burden to these muscles, hopefully slowly the progression of the deterioration, allowing patients to maintain independence and strength for longer.
Topics at the meeting will include existing technologies, new technologies, measuring results, and what the future of adaptive devices look like. PPMD and Duchenne Parent Project will also use this meeting as an opportunity to provide engineers with some of the most important issues facing patients and their families.
Founder and President of Duchenne Parent Project NL, Elizabeth Vroom is looking forward to the workshop: "We are all very excited to have experts from the US and Europe coming together to see how we can collaborate to speed up the developments of these technologies!"
PPMD recently launched a Robotics Initiative. Both PPMD and Duchenne Parent Project NL have been early funders of several robotic programs that strive to improve the quality of life for people with Duchenne. With an increase in the number of companies and technologies coming into the Duchenne space with products aimed at helping people with Duchenne, PPMD decided to put together a fundraising campaign to fund this critical research.
PPMD Founding President, Pat Furlong said, "PPMD supports innovation. We're excited because the technology we are supporting and the proposals we are reviewing with this new initiative, span the needs of the entire Duchenne population. We believe robotic technology will spare muscle deterioration keeping people with Duchenne stronger for longer. Our Robotic Initiative explores devices that have the potential to assist everyone living with Duchenne. We are excited to co-host this incredible meeting today with Elizabeth Vroom and the Duchenne Parent Project NL team."