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Pro-Test: standing up for science
Pro-Test: Standing Up For Science
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Archives for: October 2007

25/10/07

Permalink 10:16:24 am, by Tom, 189 words, 2699 views   English (UK)
Categories: Information

Masking the cause of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

This is a report of the start of clinical trials of a new
drug for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a
progressive disease that causes wasting and atrophy of muscle tissue.

The novel drug uses an antisense oligonucleotide (AO) patch to mask the
faulty part of the Dystrophin gene that stops production of the
dystrophin protein. These "nonsense" mutations are responsible for about
15% of DMD cases, and it is hoped that masking the fault will prevent
the development of DMD in young patients who have not yet lost their
muscle function.

Animal research, particularly that using the the mdx mouse model of DMD,
made a vital contribution to the basic research that lead to this
treatment, and to its later evaluation prior to human trials. It is
hoped that this AO drug will be safe and effective in DMD patients,
though it will be several years before we know whether or not it
prevents the development of DMD.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7052453.stm
http://www.muscular-dystrophy.org/news/mdcled.html
http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/research/researchthemes/neuroscience/mol_mechanisms/cmntransgen/

Paul Browne

Permalink 10:14:38 am, by Tom, 191 words, 1696 views   English (UK)
Categories: Information

Rat stem cells provide new hope for those with nerve damage

Using fat tissue stem cells to repair damaged nerves
Research being undertaken by Dr Paul Kingham and colleagues in
Manchester is giving new hope to those who have suffered nerve damage as
a result of accident or during surgery. Adipose tissue is a potentially
useful source of stem cells and Dr Kingham is growing schwann cells from
them that can be used to aid the repair of damaged neurons. Schwann
cells insulate and support neurons of the peripheral nervous system and
increase the speed at which signals travel along the nerve.

An important point here is that while the Adipose derived stem cells
(ADSCs) were obtained from rats the characterization of the Schwann cell
produced was carried out in vitro. The scientists responsible for this
work are now undertaking research in rats to determine whether the
biodegradable ADSC filled tube technique can aid nerve repair in vivo
and to further refine the technique. If they are successful trials may
start in patients with injuries to major nerves in their limbs.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7049601.stm
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/index.htm?id=125737

Paul Browne

08/10/07

Permalink 05:05:24 pm, by Robin Email , 167 words, 4107 views   English (UK)
Categories: Information

New Nobel Prize Made Possible Through Animal Research

Pro-Test are delighted to learn that Sir Martin Evans, Professor of
Mammalian Genetics at Cardiff University, shares this years Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with the US based scientists Prof. Mario Capecchi and Prof. Oliver Smithies, a former Oxford student.

In awarding the prize the Nobel committee noted that "This year's Nobel Laureates have made a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals. Their discoveries led to the creation of an immensely powerful technology referred to as gene targeting in mice. It is now being applied to virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new therapies."

This award recognizes both the value the scientific community currently places on gene targeting and the immense future potential of the technology.

More details about this award can be found in the Nobel Prize press
release (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2007/press.html)
and this BBC report (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7033492.stm).

Paul Browne

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