Muscular Dystrophy

Stem Cell > Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy is basically, a muscle wasting disease, caused from muscle diseases group that in turn and result in breakdown of skeletal muscles and increasing weakness, over time. Muscles are primarily affected and disorder varies to result in how fast they worse, degree of weakness and beginning of the symptoms. When the problem is worse, one may become unable to walk. The disease is affected to 1 in 3500 newborn boys, worldwide.

Muscular Dystrophy is of total thirty types divided into total nine categories. The important and common type is DMD (Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy) that starts around age of four, in male. Other important ones are myotonic dystrophy, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and becker muscular dystrophy.

Symptoms and Causes

Muscular dystrophy causes the symptoms, like

  1. Breakdown of skeletal muscles
  2. Increasing weakening
  3. Trouble walking
  4. Difficulty in motor skills, like jumping, hopping, running
  5. Possible mental retardation
  6. Fatigue and muscle weakness

The symptoms and results continue for long term.

Muscular dystrophy is genetic disorder and is caused from the X-linked recessive, autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive genes. The lack of dystrophin, which is one kind of protein in gene, is the direct cause for the disorder.

Cure and Treatment 

Muscular dystrophy has no cure, with the traditional treatment, but can show better results with the stem cells therapy. However, some symptoms may get relieved from braces, physical therapy and corrective surgery.

Research for Treatment with Stem Cells

The best choice of stem cells so far understood by the scientists is the stem cells that can be grown and expanded. Further these should be enabled to turn into muscle-forming cells and spread all over the body. The best stem cell candidate is expected to select that have the ability to enable the dystrophin protein to maximize the function of muscles. Researchers have found, while searching for the ideal stem cell for Duchenne’s treatment hat muscle stem cells have better capability to muscle rebuilding, while the cells are embedded in a form of matrix. The matrix form help to resemble the support of the normal architecture that cells do consist in the human body.

Research is further continued using skeletal muscle stem cells, bone marrow stem cells, pluripotent stem cells

Stem Cell Treatment

Various types of stem cells are used to develop muscular dystrophy treatment, by scientists. Rigorous experiments are under progress for complete study of the role of the stem cells in healthy muscles maintenance and repair, for better understanding of what goes wrong and how the problem of muscular dystrophy can be corrected.

However, there are two approaches followed widely using stem cells, in the current investigations.

  1. Reducing Inflammation

The damaged muscles become very inflamed, after muscular dystrophy gets attacked and the inflammation in turn speeds up the degeneration of the muscles. Certain kinds of stem cells have the ability to release chemicals that can slow down the disease progress and reduce the inflammation.

  1. Producing Healthy Muscle Fibres

According to the scientists, if stem cells are delivered with no genetic defect, causing DMD, to the muscles of patients, then the damaged muscles can be replaced by the working muscle fibres generated.

Muscular dystrophy, especially, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, which is caused by a gene product deficiency, called dystrophin protein, a viable treatment from stem cells is hoped by the scientists as the results of experiments and research are very close to the viable treatment methods to cure the same. It is viable, because scientists identified various stem cells formed by muscles, like in bone marrow, skeletal, fat, blood and other tissues. So far there are two major stem cells applications available towards the treatment of Duchenne’s. The first one is the treatment by regenerating damaged muscles and the second one is as vehicles to deliver therapies of genes, repairing and replacing the defective genes.