Research News

CRISPR: Clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats

CRISPR technology is a molecular biology technique that can have many possible uses in genetics. It must be tested and adapted for each specific genetic disease. Most research on the use of CRISPR in genetic diseases are ongoing and not yet applied. Here are links to information about this technology:

BioBlast Announces Positive Interim Results From HOPEMD Phase 2 Clinical Study of Cabaletta(R) in Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD)

BioBlast Pharma Ltd., (Nasdaq:ORPN), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing meaningful therapies for patients with rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases, announced positive interim results from a Phase 2 open label clinical study of its lead compound, Cabaletta® (IV trehalose), in 25 patients with oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD).

Ottawa researchers discover that Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a stem cell disease


NOVEMBER 16, 2015 – OTTAWA ON – A new study from The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa is poised to completely change our understanding of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and pave the way for far more effective treatments.

The study, published in Nature Medicine on November 16, 2015, is the first to show that Duchenne muscular dystrophy directly affects muscle stem cells.

“For nearly 20 years, we’ve thought that the muscle weakness observed in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy is primarily due to problems in their muscle fibres, but our research shows that it is also due to intrinsic defects in the function of their muscle stem cells,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki, senior author of the study. “This completely changes our understanding of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and could eventually lead to far more effective treatments.”

PTC Therapeutics news release – Oct 30, 2015

ACT DMD, the largest placebo-controlled study ever conducted in patients with DMD, is a multi-centre, randomized, double-blind, Phase 3 clinical trial involving 228 patients in 53 sites across 18 countries, including three sites and nine patients in Canada. Patients between the ages of seven and 16 with nonsense mutation DMD were randomized to receive either Translarna 40mg/kg per day or placebo.

The ACT DMD study confirmed the favorable safety profile of Translarna, which was generally well- tolerated, consistent with results from previous studies. More than 500 nmDMD patients have now received Translarna, the largest population to be treated with a disease-modifying agent in DMD.

New Therapeutic Strategy for Myotonic Dystrophy

A new study published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics revealed a new therapeutic approach that could potentially alter the progression of muscle damage and dysfunction in patients with myotonic dystrophy.

The primary researcher of this study was the first recipient of a grant from Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s The Rachel Fund for Myotonic Dystrophy.

Free DMD/BMD gene sequencing

If you have Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy, you may be eligible to receive genetic testing offered through Decode Duchenne. This program, by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and supported by Sarepta Therapeutics, provides genetic testing at no cost to eligible patients who are unable to access testing due to barriers such as a lack of insurance or insufficient insurance coverage.

To participate in Decode Duchenne, patients must:

  • Have a confirmed diagnosis or be suspected of having Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy based on clinical symptoms, as assessed by their treating physician, and have a positive creatine kinase (CK) test. The Decode Duchenne program is for adults and children with DBMD, but it is not for carrier testing of unaffected females.
  • Have not previously had genetic testing, or must require additional genetic testing to identify a causative mutation.
  • Provide documentation to confirm the patient’s lack of insurance coverage, insufficient insurance coverage, or a denial of coverage for genetic testing.
  • Be citizens or legal residents of the United States or Canada.
  • Register on

Download the Application Form for more information and for contact information.

Prosensa announces commencement of re-dosing of drisapersen in North America in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Leiden, The Netherlands, Sept. 17, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Prosensa Holding N.V. (NASDAQ: RNA), the biopharmaceutical company focusing on RNA-modulating therapeutics for rare diseases with high unmet need, today announced that a comprehensive program of re-dosing has commenced, with the first patients now re-dosed in the United States. All dosing in the drisapersen clinical program had been placed on hold by GSK on September 20, 2013, upon announcement of the DEMAND III study results.

Read more

Development of Neuromuscular Network to enhance research and clinical care

June 12, 2014 – Muscular Dystrophy Canada is thrilled to announce the creation of a pan-Canadian neuromuscular disease network. The network, which will be co-funded by CIHR and Muscular Dystrophy Canada, will involve researchers and neuromuscular disease clinical care personnel from across the country. It will empower patients and families through improved access to needed information, resources, and connections with each other through a patient portal. READ MORE

Neuromuscular Respiratory Care Research Grant Funding Opportunity Launched

Muscular Dystrophy Canada has launched a request for proposals aimed at addressing gaps in knowledge and enhancing knowledge translation related to respiratory care. Improving the respiratory health of people affected by neuromuscular disorders is a strategic priority for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. We are committed to funding research to advance the respiratory health, health care services, and quality of life for people living with neuromuscular disorders. Read more

Ataluren Clinical Data Demonstrate an Increase in Dystrophin Expression in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Patients

- Data Published in PLOS ONE -

South Plainfield, NJ – December 12, 2013 – PTC Therapeutics, Inc.,(NASDAQ: PTCT) today announced the publication of data in PLOS ONE demonstrating that nonsense mutation Duchenne muscular dystrophy (nmDMD) patients treated with ataluren, an investigational new drug, experienced an increase in dystrophin expression. These data were obtained from PTC’s Phase 2a open-label trial of ataluren in which change in full-length dystrophin expression, as assessed by immunofluorescent staining, was the primary endpoint. Read more

Research conducted by Michael Rudnicki at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute reveals that injecting the protein Wnt7a into mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy increased muscle strength almost two-fold – to nearly normal levels. They also found that the size of the mice muscle fibre increased and there was less muscle damage, compared to mice not given Wnt7a. Read more.

Toshifumi Yokota, Friends of Garrett Cumming Research Chair at the University of Alberta, discovered a mutation that causes a significant increase in dystrophin protein in mice. “If we can find the mechanism that causes the dystrophin protein to regrow, it would be a drug target for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Yokota. “Our discovery is very promising.” Watch a news story

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