There are several methods of exploration: medical imaging, particularly magnetic resonance imaging, and functional exploration using various devices such as electromyograms. These tools are essential, not only to characterise a disease in order to understand it better, but also to monitor its evolution and define the efficacy evaluation criteria for various therapeutic strategies.
AFM-Téléthon therefore supports exploratory research projects, such as those with the Centre de Résonance Magnétique Biologique et Médicale (CRMBM - Biological and medical magnetic resonance centre) at Aix-Marseille university (France) and has supported the creation of imaging teams and their equipment for several years.
A mixed AFM-CEA nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) research centre is also working at the Institute of Myology (France). Since 2006, this laboratory has acquired 3 Tesla "full body" magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices.
AFM-Téléthon was also involved in financing the Centre d'exploitation métabolique par résonance magnétique (Magnetic resonance metabolic imaging centre) (CEMEREM) at the Timone university hospital, Marseille (France). This centre is equipped with a magnetic resonance imaging spectrometer which can produce the spectrum of a proton in the brain (and any other organ), which not all spectrometers can do.
Before performing a human therapeutic trial, studies on animal models are mandatory. An important research activity therefore involves finding these models in order to study the pathological mechanisms and evaluate treatments.
Of the 139 neuromuscular pathologies for which the genes are known, there is at least one animal model for 59 of them.
AFM-Téléthon has supported the creation of various animal models and more broadly laboratory animal suppliers, and has a partnership with:
- the Centre d'Expérimentation Animal de Boisbonne (Boisbonne animal experimentation centre) at the Nantes veterinary school (France).
- The Unité d'Etude de Thérapie des Myopathies (UETM - myopathy treatment study unit) at the national veterinary school at Alfort (ENVA) (France).
- the Institut clinique de la souris (ICS - Clinical mouse institute) at Strasbourg (France).
These platforms are used to perform essential research work on animal models as well as work required by the regulatory agencies, before moving forward to human trials.