Foundation News

Please check back with us often for news and updates from the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation.

Marzolf Symposium to be held Thursday, December 4th

posted Dec 2, 2014, 7:39 PM by GMJr Foundation   [ updated Dec 4, 2014, 11:53 AM ]

The annual Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation Symposium will be held Thursday, December 4th at Nils Hasselmo Hall on the
University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus. This year’s event will be featuring guest speaker Louis M. Kunkel, Ph.D.
Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and Director, Genomics Program, Boston Children’s Hospital.
Graduate and post-doctoral students will also share and explain updates and promising advancements from their research
at the University of Minnesota’s Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center.
Please see the attached flyer and program for more details on the Symposium.
           

Register for Rock the Pavement 5K or 10K on August 9, 2014 at Lake Calhoun !

posted Jul 30, 2014, 7:36 AM by GMJr Foundation   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 7:38 AM ]

With the best 5K and 10K course in Minnesota and rockin’ music as you run, this is an event you won’t want to miss!!!

Join the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation as we Rock the Pavement on August 9, 2014!!!

Choose to run or walk a 5K or 10K around beautiful Lake Calhoun with rockin’ music at various locations along the course!

Click here to register today!

Inspirational Story of a Family Living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

posted Mar 21, 2014, 1:37 PM by GMJr Foundation

Read this great inspirational article about the journey of a family living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy:

University of Minnesota Making Great Strides in Research!

posted Feb 27, 2014, 10:42 AM by GMJr Foundation

This story was used with permission from the University of Minnesota.
 

A molecular band-aid

­
A bleeding heart is a metaphor.
 
 
A leaking one is a common, and often deadly, reality.

In conditions from Duchenne muscular dystrophy to heart attack and heart failure, leaky heart cells lose proteins vital to long-term survival. For University of Minnesota heart researcher Joseph Metzger, fixing these leaks is a prime concern.

 

He is part of a U team that has built and used molecules akin to plastic as "molecular band-aids" to repair tears in the cell membranes that enclose muscle cells, keeping those vital proteins inside. Collectively, the patches are known as poloxamers.

"The FDA has approved one form of poloxamer for clinical trials with boys who have Duchenne muscular dystrophy," says Metzger, head of the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology. "But [we still must secure] funds for the trials."

 

Metzger's colleagues are Frank Bates, head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and cardiologist Demetri Yannopoulos, an assistant professor of medicine.

How hearts leak

In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a child—almost always a boy—is born with one of many mutations that lead to the absence of a large protein called dystrophin.

"Dystrophin is like a shock absorber. It dissipates the force from contraction," Metzger explains.  

"Without it, a muscle gets battered. The cell membrane is rendered highly susceptible to damage and unstable. We don't know exactly where the membrane becomes unstable, but we can observe big proteins, including enzymes, leaking out."

Following a heart attack and in cases of heart failure, damaged and/or aging heart cells can also become leaky. An acquired deficiency or alteration in dystrophin, Metzger points out, is one of many paths to dysfunction in acquired heart diseases, but in DMD it's the lesion, affecting both heart and skeletal muscles.

Certain steroids can help improve the function of limb muscles in DMD patients, and other treatments can help the diaphragm and other respiratory muscles.

"These don't cure DMD, but now boys can live into their twenties, not just early teens," says Metzger. "It's a cruel irony that if you [help] other muscles, the heart muscle is still weak." In fact, he notes, many DMD patients die from heart failure.

Dystrophin can't be replaced, but the molecular band-aids Metzger and his colleagues have developed may take over some of its function of keeping a cell from rupturing during stressful contractions. Here's how:

'Like the little Dutch boy'

The molecular band-aid comes about its name honestly. It is basically a molecular chain, or strip, with two identical “sticky” end pieces flanking a central piece that “covers the wound.” 

The diagram below shows the FDA-approved poloxamer. It consists of two end pieces, each a string of 80 molecules of polyethylene oxide (blue), and a central string of 27 molecules of polypropylene oxide (red). It is thought to drape itself over a cell membrane, seen in cross section with the membrane's outer surface in blue on top.

The end pieces are chemically attracted to the outer surface and anchor the band-aid. But the central piece is chemically drawn to the inner part of the membrane (yellow), or to the cell contents, which it reaches by dipping down through the breach. Either way, the poloxamer is hypothesized to plug the membrane tear "like the little Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dike," Metzger says.

Diagram of a molecular band-aid plugging a hole in a cell membrane.

"Frank [Bates] makes different lengths or varies the composition and architecture of the band-aids," he adds. "We're trying to optimize them for a range of diseases, for example, heart failure and DMD."

Encouraging results

For his part, Yannopoulos works to prevent heart damage that occurs when a doctor reopens a clogged coronary artery after a heart attack. Lack of oxygen and nutrients during an attack causes a condition called rigor (as in rigor mortis), which primes muscle cells to respond to the restoration of oxygen with inappropriate contractions and, often, more damage to cell membranes; this is called reperfusion injury.

But in an animal model of a heart attack and restoration of blood flow, the researchers found that treatment with a poloxamer led to much less reperfusion injury.

Molecular band-aids, says Metzger, have the advantages of being chemically inert and don’t appear to trigger an immune response. To be effective, however, they would have to be injected directly into a coronary artery as it is reopened, or on a quasi-daily basis for chronic conditions.

Compared to living with heart failure or the ravages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, that sounds like a good deal.

Joseph Metzger holds the Maurice B. Visscher Endowed Land-Grant Chair in Physiology. Read related stories on molecular band-aids and a “guardian angel” protein for heart patients, a calcium sponge for diastolic heart failure, and research to improve CPR success.

Contact the writer at morri029@umn.edu

 

Winter Games Gala Takes Gold for Record-Breaking Results

posted Feb 7, 2014, 11:18 AM by GMJr Foundation

Event brings in the highest-ever dollar amount in history of Cause to Cook Gala events!

The Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation raised more than $70,500 to support local muscular dystrophy research at the Winter Games Gala –Champions for a cure – its Cause to Cook for a Cure fundraising gala at the University of St. Thomas in St.
Paul.  This year’s record-breaking results are the highest ever achieved in the history of the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation’s Cause to Cook for a Cure galas.

The Winter Games Gala was hosted by guest emcee Paul Allen from KFAN radio, who helped drive event participation and contributed to making it such a successful event.

The evening included food from around the world, games of chance including a live outdoor competition, a dessert board, a prize board, wine tasting, a silent auction, a fund-a-need auction and live music from Lightning Creek.  You can see photos from the event here.

The money raised at the Winter Games Gala will be allocated exclusively to support the Greg Marzolf Jr. Trainee Program at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center at the University of Minnesota.


RSVP for the Winter Games Gala!

posted Jan 4, 2014, 11:15 AM by GMJr Foundation

Cause To Cook for a Cure
Join us and RSVP online today for the
Winter Games Gala – Champions for a Cure fundraising gala on January 18, 2014 at the University of St. Thomas - James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall in St. Paul.   You won’t want to miss out on a night of fantastic food from around the world, games, a silent auction, live music and more with the goal of raising money and awareness to support local research at the University of Minnesota for a cure to Muscular Dystrophy.   Visit http://www.gregmarzolfjr.org/causetocook to RSVP and learn more.

Celebrating 10 years of support for the University of Minnesota's MD Center

posted Nov 18, 2013, 10:58 AM by GMJr Foundation   [ updated Nov 18, 2013, 11:05 AM ]

Check out this great article written by the University of Minnesota on the partnership between the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation and the University of Minnesota’s Paul and Sheila Wellstone MD Center, which is celebrating ten years.
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mmf/news/neuro/2013/in-its-10th-year-of-supporting-muscular-dystrophy-research-at-the-university-the-greg-marzolf-jr-fou.html
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mmf/news/neuro/2013/in-its-10th-year-of-supporting-muscular-dystrophy-research-at-the-university-the-greg-marzolf-jr-fou.html

A Night at the Derby Wins Big -- $49,000 Raised for MD Research

posted Apr 4, 2013, 11:20 AM by GMJr Foundation   [ updated Apr 14, 2013, 9:37 AM ]

More than 200 generous people joined us for a hugely successful A Night at the Derby Cause to Cook for a Cure gala in January. Together, we raised a total of $49,000 to support MD research for a cure.

Photos from the event are available in this online picture gallery.  Past Events

 

Our new beautiful location at St. Thomas University’s James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall gave us plenty of room to celebrate, dance, and raise money and awareness for an important cause.

 

The evening included live music from Lightening Creek, delicious Southern Derby fare, specialty cocktails, games of chance including black jack tables, a cake walk and a prize board, wine tasting, a silent auction and a fund-a-need auction that raised more than $12,000.

 

Thank you to our generous sponsors -- 1500 am ESPN Twin Cities, Mauer Chev, Nook/Shamrock’s, R. F. Moeller Jeweler, Bremer Bank and Decko, 2 Gingers and Sam Adam's – and the many underwriters and our fabulous guests for making the gala an unforgettable night.

 

All of the money generated at A Night at the Derby – A Cause to Cook for a Cure will be allocated exclusively to support the Greg Marzolf Jr. Trainee Program at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center at the University of Minnesota.

 

Each year, the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation awards grants to researchers in muscle disease. Since the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation’s support of the program began in 2005, research efforts have increased dramatically.

 

In total, the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation has raised more than $1,000,000 for clinical services and research since its inception more than ten years ago.

RSVP for A Night at the Derby

posted Dec 28, 2012, 1:03 PM by GMJr Foundation

RSVP online today for our annual Cause to Cook for a Cure fundraising gala on January 19, 2013. We will be hosting ‘A Night at the Derby’ at the University of St. Thomas - James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall in St. Paul. Please join us for this evening of fun, food and community. Visit http://www.gregmarzolfjr.org/causetocook to RSVP and learn more.

Give to the Max Day: Nov. 15

posted Nov 12, 2012, 6:44 PM by GMJr Foundation   [ updated Nov 13, 2012, 6:52 AM ]

As you know, the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation is focused on supporting research for a cure and raising awareness of Muscular Dystrophy (MD), the progressive muscle disease that leads to loss of muscle function, independence and life.

 

Support the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation by participating in MN Give to the Max Day (Nov.15), which is open now and runs through midnight CT on Nov. 15. Give to the Max Day is a campaign sponsored by Give MN to encourage Minnesotans to raise as much money as possible for Minnesota nonprofits during the 24-hour online campaign.

 

Give MN will award $12,500, $5,000 and $2,500 prize grants to the top three small nonprofit organizations (that's us!) which receive the most dollars during Give to the Max Day. A prize grant of $1,000 will be awarded to each nonprofit in 4th through 10th place. Also, throughout Nov. 15, Give MN will randomly select one individual donor each hour and will award the nonprofit of their choice with $1,000 – how great would it be if someone giving to the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation won an extra $1,000 for our foundation? Consider giving your gift when fewer people are online (from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.) to increase our odds of getting the $1,000 prize!

 

How you can participate:

Before or on Nov. 15, visit www.GiveMN.org and search for Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation to donate directly to the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation. Or, you can go straight to our page on GiveMN.org.

 

As always, feel free to email us at gmjrfoundation@gmail.com if you have any questions and connect with us on Facebook.

Thank you, in advance, for your support!

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