Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein found in spider venom could treat muscular dystrophy

Date:
July 16, 2012
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
When a stockbroker from the Buffalo suburbs discovered that his grandson had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, he turned to medical researchers for help in developing a treatment. He found a promising new therapy involving spider venom. The therapy is not a cure. But if it works in humans, it could extend lives for years -- maybe even decades.

UB researchers are developing a treatment for muscular dystrophy using a peptide found in the venom of a Chilean rose tarantula.
Credit: Image courtesy of University at Buffalo

While Spider-Man is capturing the imagination of theatergoers, real-life spider men in Upstate New York are working intently to save a young boy's life.

It all began in 2009, when Jeff Harvey, a stockbroker from the Buffalo suburbs, discovered that his grandson, JB, had Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The disease is fatal. It strikes only boys, causing their muscles to waste away.

Hoping to help his grandson, Harvey searched Google for promising muscular dystrophy treatments and, in a moment of serendipity, stumbled upon University at Buffalo scientist Frederick Sachs, PhD.

Sachs was a professor of physiology and biophysics who had been studying the medical benefits of venom. In the venom of the Chilean rose tarantula, he and his colleagues discovered a protein that held promise for keeping muscular dystrophy at bay. Specifically, the protein helped stop muscle cells from deteriorating.

Within months of getting in touch, Harvey and Sachs co-founded Tonus Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company devoted to developing the protein as a drug. Though the treatment has yet to be tested in humans, it has helped dystrophic mice gain strength in preliminary experiments.

The therapy is not a cure. But if it works in humans, it could extend the lives of children like JB for years -- maybe even decades.

Success can't come quickly enough.

JB, now four, can't walk down the stairs alone. When he runs, he waddles. He receives physical therapy and takes steroids as a treatment. While playing tee ball one recent day, he confided to his grandfather, "When I grow up, I want to be a baseball player." It was a heartbreaking moment.

"Oh, I would be thrilled if you could be a baseball player," Harvey remembers replying. He's doing everything he can to make sure that JB -- and other boys like him -- can live out their dreams.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "Protein found in spider venom could treat muscular dystrophy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716142657.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2012, July 16). Protein found in spider venom could treat muscular dystrophy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716142657.htm
University at Buffalo. "Protein found in spider venom could treat muscular dystrophy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716142657.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins