Muscular Dystrophy

  • Muscular dystrophy is not simply one disease but perhaps as many as 30, each with a distinct genetic defect.

The most widely known forms of muscular dystrophy affect children, but others appear relatively late in life, including middle age. According to Professor Eva Engvall, these late-onset forms are likely to be misdiagnosed as simple aging or loss of athleticism.

Sanford-Burnham research on muscular dystrophy

Dr. Engvall, in collaboration with medical, veterinary and basic research colleagues, is establishing a center for muscular dystrophy in San Diego. The center will encompass research into the underlying biology as well as clinical treatment of humans and animals suffering from muscular dystrophy. Dogs and cats are susceptible to forms of muscular dystrophy that parallel human conditions more closely than those of more typical laboratory animals such as mice. Dr. Engvall is working closely with a veterinary pathologist to define the disease mechanisms (associated with each form) of muscular dystrophy, so that accurate diagnoses, prognoses and treatment strategies can be developed.

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