Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD)

FSHD is a rare genetic myopathy in which immune cells invade diseased skeletal muscle and for which there are no approved treatments.

The primary clinical phenotype of FSHD is debilitating skeletal muscle deterioration and weakness. The symptoms of FSHD often appear early in the face, shoulder blades, upper arms, lower legs and trunk, and can affect certain muscles while adjacent muscles remain healthy. In addition to muscle weakness, FSHD patients often experience debilitating fatigue and chronic pain. The disease is typically diagnosed by the presence of a characteristic pattern of muscle weakness and other clinical symptoms, as well as through genetic testing.

While estimates of FSHD prevalence vary, studies exploring the topic have identified average prevalence rates of approximately one in 17,000. Applying this rate to the U.S. population, as of November 1, 2014, yields a domestic FSHD population of approximately 19,000.

There are currently no approved treatments for FSHD. The standard of care in management of the disease includes physical therapy and, in the presence of severe muscle weakness, orthotic devices or surgical interventions may be needed to maintain musculoskeletal stability.