Takeda and UCL to work together to tackle muscle disorders

Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda will work with University College London (UCL) to drive research into tackling muscle disorders, in particular muscular dystrophy.

The research – which is being conducted by the research group of Dr Francesco Saverio Tedesco – is being supported through funding of $250,000 from the company's New Frontier Sciences group. Takeda's NFS aims to support innovative, cutting-edge research which could eventually lead to drug discovery and development.

Dr Tedesco's team will focus on the study of muscular regeneration and the potential for to treat , in particular induced pluripotent (iPS) .

The team is also investigating the potential for treating muscular dystrophy through developing novel gene and cell therapy strategies using artificial human chromosomes and novel biomaterials.

Using this approach, Dr Tedesco hopes to overcome a number of current limitations to developing effective treatments for muscular dystrophies. It is hoped that through the use of these modified stem cells, large quantities of progenitor cells could be produced to be transplanted into a patient's muscle following genetic correction or to be used for drug development platforms.

Importantly, the team will attempt to produce these cells which can be applied more easily in a clinical context, in order to reduce the hurdles that might limit their possible future use in clinical studies.

Through previous work using a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the team has already demonstrated the potential of pre-clinical gene replacement therapy using an artificial human chromosome.

Moreover, in a separate study, Dr Tedesco and his team also demonstrated the potential of genetically corrected iPS cells which had been transplanted into another mouse model of a genetic muscle disorder (limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2D).

Commenting on the new funding for his research, Dr Tedesco, from the UCL Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, said:

"This funding from Takeda comes at a crucial time for building on our research to develop new and innovative approaches to developing potentially life-changing treatments for muscular dystrophies.

"With Takeda's backing, my team and I will be building on the processes we've already shown to be promising and which could pave the way for the development of novel strategies for both cell therapies and drug discovery in muscle disorders."

Gordon Wong, D.Phil., Head of New Frontier Science at Takeda, added:

"We are delighted to support Dr Tedesco and his team because their ground breaking work has the potential for significant patient benefit."

"That several different strands of their research have already borne fruit was strong evidence for us of the translational potential of Dr Tedesco's research for muscular dystrophies."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Discovery of a 'conductor' in muscle development

Feb 25, 2014

A team led by Jean-François Côté, researcher at the IRCM, identified a ''conductor'' in the development of muscle tissue. The discovery, published online yesterday by the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Ac ...

Researchers review muscular dystrophy therapies

Jun 22, 2012

Leading muscular dystrophy researcher Dean Burkin, of the University of Nevada School of Medicine summarizes the impact of a new protein therapeutic, MG53, for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy ...

Recommended for you

Gamers helping in Ebola research

14 hours ago

Months before the recent Ebola outbreak erupted in Western Africa, killing more than a thousand people, scientists at the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design were looking for a way to stop the deadly virus.

Carcinogenic role of a protein in liver decoded

16 hours ago

The human protein EGFR controls cell growth. It has mutated in case of many cancer cells or exists in excessive numbers. For this reason it serves as a point of attack for target-oriented therapies. A study ...

A new way to diagnose malaria, using magnetic fields

Aug 31, 2014

Over the past several decades, malaria diagnosis has changed very little. After taking a blood sample from a patient, a technician smears the blood across a glass slide, stains it with a special dye, and ...

User comments