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FARAFARA Cure FA

Cyclist with Rare Neuromuscular Disorder to Begin Third Cycling Journey

Kyle Bryant and Team Ride Ataxia are preparing to begin their third cycling journey to draw attention and raise research funds to find a cure for the rare neuromuscular disorder Friedreich' s ataxia (FA) with which Bryant and other teammates are affected. The team will begin the ride on March 16, 2009 at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon and conclude in Seattle, Washington on March 19, 2009 at the National Ataxia Foundation's 52nd Annual Meeting.

It will be a 4-day trip covering 200 miles . Bryant and Team Ride Ataxia have cycled 3,100 miles cross country in the past two years. In 2007, Bryant and his father, Mike Bryant completed a 2,400 mile bike ride visiting FA researchers and patient families from La Jolla, California to Memphis, Tennessee. In March 2008, the Bryants were joined by many new teammates including 6 ataxians on their bike ride from Sacramento, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. The funds raised by the team on their cross-country “Ride Ataxia” have gone directly to the annual Kyle Bryant Research Award for translational research in FA.

In 2008, the team raised $142,000 and the National Ataxia Foundation and the Friedreich’s Ataxi a Research Alliance added sufficient funds to bring the award total to $250,000. Ride Ataxia, NAF and FA RA co-funded two $125,000 awards in 2008. One award was made to Repligen Corporation, Waltham MA, which in collaboration with an international team of researchers is advancing compounds called HDAC inhibitors that target increased levels of frataxin – the protein that is severely reduced in FA. The second award went to a team of investigators at Ohio State University, Drs. Subha V. Raman and Roula al- Dahhak, who propose a series of sophisticated imaging studies to better understand, prevent and treat heart disease in FA.

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