advancing muscular dystrophy research

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University of Washington
Department of Neurology

Research

The Chamberlain laboratory is focused on understanding and developing treatments for the muscular dystrophies and other disorders of muscle. These studies center on the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene (dystrophin) and exploring the expression and function of this gene and its protein isoforms.

A major area of focus involves the development of viral vectors to deliver dystrophin or other genes to muscle for gene therapy. These vectors are being tested for safety and for their ability to halt or reverse the dystrophic phenotype. The primary vector being studied is adeno-associated virus (AAV), which efficiently transfers genes to skeletal muscle and heart. Methods are being developed for whole body systemic delivery, and a human clinical trial is being planned.

We are also studying adenoviral vectors, particularly fully gutted adenoviruses, and modified, replication-defective vectors. An additional area of study is an investigation of muscle stems cells and their potential use in ex vivo gene therapy following transduction of cells with lentiviral vectors.

Our efforts to transfer genes to muscle are also being adapted for genetic and non-genetic muscle wasting disorders.


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