MDA awarded a research grant totaling $312,422 over a period of three years to Nadine Wiper-Bergeron, assistant professor in the department of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of Ottowa in Ontario, Canada.
One potential therapy for DMD and BMD is the use of stem cells to repair disease-damaged muscle. Stem cells can help the damaged muscle become healthy, reversing both muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass.
"So far this approach has not been very successful," Wiper-Bergeron said, "because in addition to repair we need some of the stem cells to live in the muscle all the time, to make more cells that can help with repair and muscle growth."
In previous work, Wiper-Bergeron discovered a new approach to improving muscle stem cell transplantation procedures that involves using a drug to reprogram immature muscle cells called myoblasts back into stem cells before transplantation. Using a research mouse model of DMD, Wiper-Bergeron and colleagues will now test their new approach and compare it to existing strategies.
"It is our aim to make myoblast transplantation more efficient and sustainable long-term by repairing injured muscle and creating a population of healthy stem cells within the muscle," Wiper-Bergeron said. "Successful completion of this project will provide the necessary preclinical data to translate our basic science into the clinic."
Funding for this MDA grant began February 1, 2012.