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First clinical trial of gene therapy for muscular dystrophy now under way

MDA) awarded $1.6 million to AskBio to develop gene therapy strategies for DMD.

Rounding out the AskBio team clinically is neurologist Dr. Jerry R. Mendell, co-director of the MDA clinic at Columbus Children's Hospital; professor of pediatrics, neurology and pathology at Ohio State University's School of Medicine; and head of the neuromuscular research program and Center for Gene Therapy at Columbus Children's Research Institute. In the clinical trial at the Columbus Children's Hospital's MDA clinic, Mendell will administer the injections.

Following extensive laboratory toxicity experiments required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration demonstrating that minidystrophin gene transfer was unlikely to harm and could ultimately benefit muscles affected by DMD, approval was granted March 3, 2006, to proceed with the human trial.

"After years of encouraging pre-clinical results, I'm excited that AskBio will help bring this promising new therapy into the clinic, and look forward with a great deal of optimism to offering this initial step toward hope for the DMD community," Samulski said.


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Contact: Stephanie Crayton
scrayton@unch.unc.edu
919-966-2860
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
29-Mar-2006


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