The USC Neuromuscular Center at Good Samaritan Hospital was created in July, 1981, when W. King Engel, MD, Director, and Valerie Askanas, MD, PhD, Co-Director, were invited to move their clinical and laboratory research activities in neuromuscular diseases to the USC Keck School of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, where Dr. Engel was director of clinical and laboratory research in neuromuscular diseases. At USC, Dr. Askanas and Dr. Engel are each full-time professors of both Neurology and Pathology.
Team. The Neuromuscular Center team is comprised of clinical-neurologist scientists, laboratory scientists, clinical and research post-doctoral fellows, laboratory research technicians, and administrative staff.
Philosophy. Research of the USC Neuromuscular Center is specifically and strictly directed toward human neuromuscular diseases. It is designed to seek their causes and, more importantly, their treatments and cures, by applying scientific knowledge clinically and in the laboratory. This approach has the new designation “translational research”, which is actually what Drs. Engel and Askanas have been doing for many years.
Research Support. Research at the Neuromuscular Center has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Alzheimer Association and through generous support from private donors.
Challenges. Despite the therapeutic successes, there are many patients whose neuromuscular disease is either inadequately-treatable or totally-untreatable. These remain our clinical and basic research challenges, which we are pursuing.