Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School have discovered a chemical that may, over the long term, protect the hearts of Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients – a fatal and most common form of muscular dystrophy in children.
The chemical, which Medical School scientists have termed a "molecular band-aid," seeks out tiny cuts in diseased heart muscle. When injected into the bloodstream, the molecular band-aid finds these microscopic cuts and protects them from harmful substances so the heart muscle cells can survive and function normally. In order to be effective the chemical must be repeatedly injected, much in the same way a diabetic patient requires regular injections of insulin,
In the March 15 edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Joseph Metzger, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, DeWayne Townsend, D.V.M., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, and colleagues showed the first ever effective long-term treatment for preventing cardiac injury and progressive heart chamber remodeling in a severely affected canine model of muscular dystrophy.
In the study, dystrophic dogs were given the molecular band-aid continuously for two months. The treatment completely blocked cardiac injury and heart disease remodeling compared to the control group of dystrophic canines receiving a placebo.
"The advance in this study is demonstrating that molecular band-aid therapy is a safe and effective approach in preventing heart damage in severely affected large animals with muscular dystrophy," Metzger said.
The hopeful next major step is to determine whether children with muscular dystrophy can be helped by applying the molecular band-aid, first over short periods, then if successful, over the long term with the ultimate goal of enhancing the health and quality of life of muscular dystrophy patients.
Muscular dystrophy causes the muscles in the body to progressively weaken. Duchenne is the most common and severe form of childhood muscular dystrophy. About one of 3,500 boys are born with the crippling disease. Symptoms usually begin in children who are 4-5 years-old, most are in a wheelchair by age 12, and many who have the disease pass away by their late teens to early 20s. The primary causes of death are respiratory failure and heart failure. Current treatments, largely limited to corticosteroids, are minimally effective and can cause serious side effects.
The potential for the molecular band-aid discovery is yet to be fully realized – and may be stretched even beyond those who are impacted by muscular dystrophy. Metzger and Townsend believe the molecular band-aid may be applicable in elderly patients who simply have weakened heart muscle. If that is the case, the molecular Band-Aid could be used as a therapy for millions.
"We speculate that certain types of heart damage that occur when we age or when the heart is failing may also someday benefit from molecular band-aid therapy," Townsend said.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne.
Nick Hanson | EurekAlert!
Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences