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Stem cells hold promise for muscular dystrophy sufferers

Mon, 28 Jan 2013 09:27:57 CST
By: IPR's Jim Meadows

Stem cells hold promise for muscular dystrophy sufferers A University of Illinois researcher is experimenting with stem cells as a potential treatment for a common form of muscular dystrophy affecting boys. IPR's Jim Meadows reports:

Victims of Duchenne muscular dystrophy rarely survive to middle age, and the immediate cause of death is often a weakened heart muscle. U of I Comparative Biosciences Professor Suzanne Berry-Miller (pictured) worked with mice, taking adult stem cells derived from blood vessels and transplanting them into the hearts of mice with a similar form of the disease. She says their heart function improved, from the transformation into heart cells either of the transplanted stem cells, or of stem cells already in the heart and triggered by the transplants. Berry-Miller says she hopes her finding could one day lead to future modes of treatment.
"What could be a potential care later would be isolating those cells from the patient, and then genetically correcting those cells from the patient and giving them back or taking those kind of stem cells from the heart of a healthy donor and giving those to a patient."
Berry-Miller's research is published in the new issue of the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

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