Muscular Dystrophies

Texas Achiever with DMD Turns 50

January 17 was a particularly special day for Tom Mecke. It was his 50th birthday, and he had beaten a pretty long set of odds to get there.

Mecke, a San Antonio, Texas, resident all his life, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). He and his parents got the news that he has the disease when he was 6 years old. They also were told he’d probably die before he turned 20.

Caution: Immune Response Seen in DMD Gene Therapy

Unwanted responses by the immune system to dystrophin have been seen in a small, MDA-supported clinical trial of gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)— an unexpected finding, investigators say.

Rather than a setback, the finding is “the beginning of a new way of thinking” about gene therapy, said Jerry Mendell, director of the Center for Gene Therapy at Nationwide Children's and a long-time MDA research grantee and MDA-associated clinician. Mendell was the neurologist on this trial.

DMD/BMD: Taking a Closer Look at Ataluren

PTC Therapeutics, a South Plainfield, N.J., biopharmaceutical company, has announced findings that reflect the company's closer look at a large-scale trial of its experimental drug ataluren.

The additional results, presented April 16 at the American Academy of Neurology  meeting in Toronto, show that trial participants who took the lower dose of ataluren did better on a six-minute walking test than did participants who took the placebo or higher dose.

Luring Away Myostatin Can Boost Muscle Size

ACE031, a laboratory-modified protein developed by Acceleron Pharma of Cambridge, Mass., has shown promise as a therapy to increase muscle mass, based on results of a trial in healthy volunteers. The company will now test it in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

More Good News about Exon Skipping

AVI4658, an experimental treatment for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) caused by certain mutations in the gene for the muscle protein dystrophin, has shown promising results when delivered intravenously to 19 trial participants.

Laid-Off Newsman with FSHD Starts Second Career

Peter Callas Jr. remembers as if it were yesterday the day his father gave him “the F.D.R. talk.”

It was 1973, and Peter Jr., then 13 years old, had just been diagnosed with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD).

Gentamicin Shows Mixed Results in DMD

Results of the MDA-supported trial of gentamicin in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) were presented Wednesday, April 14, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), held in Toronto.

Levels of the needed dystrophin protein increased in six out of 12 participants who received the drug for six months. No functional improvements were seen.

Progress in Exon Skipping for DMD

The multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Dutch biotechnology company Prosensa  announced "intriguing results" following a 12-person trial of an experimental "exon skipping" therapeutic for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

MDA Awards Two New FSHD Grants

MDA has awarded two grants for research aimed at determining the precise molecular causes of facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD), and developing therapies for the disease.

MDA and Friends of FSH Research (FFSHR) based in Kirkland, Wash., will jointly fund a two-year, $200,000 grant to Joel Chamberlain, an assistant professor of medical genetics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Tadalafil Trial in Becker MD

Update (Oct. 8, 2012): This story has been updated to reflect that the tadalafil trial in BMD has been slightly revised and is now open. In June 2012, it had temporarily closed to new participants. The investigators say the revised trial design was necessary because they were unable to obtain access to the MRI machine for the time periods that were necessary in the first design.

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