Basic Research. Basic research at the USC Neuromuscular Center is directed by Dr. Askanas. It is related to many of the neuromuscular diseases indicated below. The research utilizes the most current techniques in molecular and genetic biology. Young scientists from various parts of the world are coming to learn these techniques in her laboratory, and then establish the techniques back in their home laboratories. Dr. Askanas’ tissue-culture approach has contributed significantly to a better understanding of mechanisms underlying several neuromuscular diseases.
Different aspects of the research are emphasized at different times. Since it is not unusual that research or a new therapeutic approach intended to help one neuromuscular disease turns out to be even more valuable in helping a different neuromuscular disease, a number of diverse research projects must be kept active concurrently to study
Clinical Research. We use many laboratory studies to define precisely each of our patient’s disease. This sometimes leads to finding a new type or subtype of disease or a new treatment. We are continually seeking new clinical therapies. In general, ones being tried are developed from basic science studies and from serendipitous clinical findings.
Excellent scientific techniques are brought to bear on the clinical disease by working with the patient and his or her specimens. The general approach is, “If we don’t look, we’ll not find”, and so looking is done in many ways. In the laboratory, blood, spinal-fluid and urine samples of patients, and portions of their diagnostic muscle or nerve biopsies are studied with a variety of methods. Very detailed clinical nerve conductions and electromyography unveil other aspects of the disease.