Researchers identify protein that could help patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
An international research team has identified a specific protein that could help treat patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a severe and progressive muscle-wasting disease that affects young boys. The results from the studies demonstrate that increasing the levels of ‘heat shock protein 72’ (HSP72) in the muscles of animal models of DMD improved muscle strength, slowed the progression of the disease and increased lifespan. Researchers found that by increasing HSP72, the function of a pump responsible for controlling calcium levels was improved, making it a target for future therapeutic drugs. One possible approach to increasing HSP72 is administering the drug BGP-15, which improved muscle function in limbs and the diaphragm and increased lifespan by 20 percent. “We hope that these exciting findings will serve as the basis for future clinical trials within the next five to 10 years,” Gordon Lynch, who led the research, said.