Muscular Dystrophies

MDA's Voice for Change

Palliative care for kids, transition services for young adults, and genetic discrimination are just some of the projects being worked on by MDA’s Advocacy program, under the energetic direction of MDA Vice President Annie Kennedy.

Following are some highlights of these projects.

Palliative care in pediatrics

DMD: Gene-Changing 'Cocktail'

Scientists at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., and the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo, have successfully treated dogs with a disease closely resembling Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) , using a molecular treatment strategy called "exon skipping." The strategy is simultaneously under development in human patients.

Building a Better Gene

Displacement of a protein called neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) from the membrane that surrounds each skeletal muscle fiber appears to be a much more important contributor to exercise intolerance and even cardiac degeneration in some forms of muscular dystrophy than previously recognized.

DMD Research: Exon Skipping

On Jan. 21, AVI BioPharma of Portland, Ore., announced its experimental compound AVI4658 for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) yielded promising results in a phase 1 clinical trial in the United Kingdom.

DMD Research: Exon Skipping Goes Systemic

AVI BioPharma of Portland, Ore., has started the systemic (through the blood) delivery phase of its clinical trial of AVI4658 in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The trial is being conducted in the United Kingdom.

George Karpati: "He Was a Giant"

Neurologist and neuroscientist George Karpati, a longtime MDA research grantee at the Montreal Neurological Institute, passed away suddenly on Feb. 6, 2009. He was 74.

Karpati was one of the world's leading authorities on the diagnosis and treatment of muscular dystrophy. He held the I.W. Killam Chair and was a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University in Montreal (the Montreal Neurological Institute is part of McGill).

UK Trial: 'Robust Response' to Exon-Skipping Compound Seen

On Jan. 21, AVI BioPharma of Portland, Ore., announced its experimental compound AVI4658 for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) yielded promising results in a phase 1 clinical trial in the United Kingdom.

EDMD Research: Lamin Defects

Mutations in the lamin A/C gene on chromosome 1 and the emerin gene on the X chromosome both can cause Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD), but the precise mechanisms by which they do so are still being identified.

Now, a multinational team has found that, in mice with an EDMD-like disease, lamin protein defects interfere with the way cell nuclei normally localize in skeletal-muscle fibers at the point where each fiber receives signals from a nerve cell.

DMD/BMD Reseach: Minidystrophin Gene

A promising “minidystrophin gene” that restores normal muscle force to skeletal and diaphragm muscles in mice with a disease resembling Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) seems to be only partially effective at restoring strength and function to heart muscles.

DMD Research: Another Dystrophin Stand-In?

Delivering the gene for the missing dystrophin protein to the muscles of children and young men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is one of several therapeutic avenues under intense investigation in this disease. However, the strategy has technical drawbacks, and some experts worry that introduction of a previously absent protein could provoke a dangerous immune response.

Pages