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Muscle Nerve. 2011 Aug;44(2):160-9. doi: 10.1002/mus.22090. Epub 2011 May 23.

Therapeutics development in myotonic dystrophy type 1.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.


Myotonic dystrophy (DM1), the most common adult muscular dystrophy, is a multisystem, autosomal dominant genetic disorder caused by an expanded CTG repeat that leads to nuclear retention of a mutant RNA and subsequent RNA toxicity. Significant insights into the molecular mechanisms of RNA toxicity have led to the previously unforeseen possibility that treating DM1 is a viable prospect. In this review, we briefly present the clinical picture in DM1, and describe how the research in understanding the pathogenesis of RNA toxicity in DM1 has led to targeted approaches to therapeutic development at various steps in the pathogenesis of the disease. We discuss the promise and current limitations of each with an emphasis on RNA-based therapeutics and small molecules. We conclude with a discussion of the unmet need for clinical tools and outcome measures that are essential prerequisites to proceed in evaluating these potential therapies in clinical trials.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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