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CONTACT: L. E. OHMAN
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Iowa City IA 52242
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e-mail: lohman@medadmin-po.medadmin.uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

UI researcher receives $300,000 grant to study gene therapy

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) this month awarded more than $300,000 for the study of gene therapy for congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) to Dr. Kevin P. Campbell, University of Iowa professor of physiology and biophysics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

The award makes research funds available over a three-year period for the investigation of a novel form of gene therapy to treat CMD in a mouse model of the disease.

"The goal of this research is to test the feasibility of our gene transfer approach. Hopefully this will lead to the development of a therapeutic strategy to treat CMD patients with in the future," Campbell says.

Congenital muscular dystrophy is a group of severe muscle disorders that differ from Duchenne muscular dystrophy in that the onset of muscle weakness is present from birth or early infancy. Congenital muscular dystrophy is inherited by both males and females and has no effective treatment. Several years ago, Campbell and colleagues showed that a protein that surrounds muscle cells was absent in CMD patients, and recently defects in the gene for this protein were identified.

Another goal of Campbell's research is to better understand the pathogenesis of this disease. He and his colleagues propose to explore the molecular basis of this disease in order to determine whether it primarily affects muscle development or also affects the nerves that control muscle contraction.

12/19/97