Putting Muscle Behind MD Research

Patented protein may soon be ready for clinical trials in fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy

(RxWiki News) Recent work from pharmacology researcher Dean Burkin may lead to better treatments for the most common form of muscular dystrophy (MD) known as Duchenne.

Burkin's work, which is profiled in the "Better World Report," an annual publication from the Association of University Technology Managers, has led to a patent for laminin-111, a protein that was shown to prevent muscle damage in mice models.

The University of Nevada, Reno, has licensed the patent to Prothelia, a Boston-based biotech company, which is in the process of making a human version of the protein for further testing.

Burkin said in just a few months, researchers might have something for clinical trials to use to see if the protein works as well in humans as in animals.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a progressive neuromuscular disease that leads to paralysis and eventually death. Treatment is focused on disease management for optimum quality of life. Symptoms, which include awkward gait, fatigue, weakness and frequent falls, usually appear between ages 2 and 3.

To help make sure that breakthroughs like this continue to be funded, Gary Osborn’s son Andrew has Muscular dystrophy. Andrew and his dad are participating in the MDA Muscle Walk on February 26th in Austin, Texas and have only a couple days to reach their goal of $15,000 to help fund a cure. Andrew’s dad will match the total donations up to $10,000. There have already been so many advances in fighting MS and researchers are close to finding a way to treat the disease. If you could help Gary and his son Andrew you can visit Gary and Andrew’s Muscle Walk page to make a secure online donation at www.joinmda.org/mw2011/gosborn.  

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Review Date: 
February 18, 2011