Pharmacological strategies for muscular dystrophy.
Khurana TS., Davies KE.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal, genetic disorder whose relentless progression underscores the urgency for developing a cure. Although Duchenne initiated clinical trials roughly 150 years ago, therapies for DMD remain supportive rather than curative. A paradigm shift towards developing rational therapeutic strategies occurred with identification of the DMD gene. Gene- and cell-based therapies designed to replace the missing gene and/or dystrophin protein have achieved varying degrees of success. However, pharmacological strategies not designed to replace dystrophin per se appear promising, and can circumvent many hurdles hampering gene- and cell-based therapy. Here, we will review present pharmacological strategies, in particular those dealing with functional substitution of dystrophin by utrophin and enhancing muscle progenitor commitment by myostatin blockade, with a view toward facilitating drug discovery for DMD.