A team of Scientists from Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has discovered new ways to find cure for hereditary muscular degradation disease called Muscular Dystrophy in patients suffering from muscular dysfunction.
According to Dr. Jyotsna Dawan, chief scientists at CCMB Hyderabad, usually the sleeping muscle stem cells, repair and regenerate inured muscles when a person gets damaged his muscles during accidents. However persons with hereditary dystrophy these sleeping muscle stem cells do not work. While explaining how our body repairs and regenerates the damaged muscles during wear and tear, the scientists informed that sleeping muscle stem cells awake when there is an injury or traumatic muscle damage in the skeletal muscles of the body. These cells are present in the muscle but are not active all the time. They are activated when there is damage to the muscle.
“As part of our research we have discovered a pathway for curing hereditary muscular degradation disease. Initially our work has set the stage for further research to understand whether it can be developed to form new drugs. As part of our further research we will have to carry out more experiments on dystrophic mice to understand whether the infusion of chemicals in the pathway can work towards a cure,” said Dr. Jyotsna.
During their initial experiments in mice, Dr Jyotsna Dhawan along with another scientist Ajoy Aloysius, identified a pathway in normal mice where the stem cells were awakened during injury and worked towards regeneration of the muscle.
As part of their research the most significant aspect these scientists have found is that already our body mechanism is in place to repair the damage. However in those who are dystrophic, either the stem cells get exhausted due to the constant work load or they require outside intervention wherein they can work towards repair. “We are yet to understand and need to conduct more research on dystrophic mice. Only then we can come to a final conclusion that a definite drug can be developed to activate the degenerated muscle cells,” informed Dr. Dhawan.
Other scientists while explaining about the mechanism of muscular repair and regeneration process said that cross talk between two signaling pathways work like a switch for the stem cells. This is an important phenomenon in biology as the switch brings in a new hope and there can be drug therapy possible in patients suffering from muscular diseases.
“The signaling mechanism is carried out by two proteins Lefi and Smad3 which carry out the work of switching the genes on and off. However there are also alternative mechanisms in place which enable the sleep stem cells make new molecular partnerships during the process and this is the major breakthrough which will help to devise new therapeutic strategies to enhance the stock of stem cells in diseased muscles,” explained Dr. Rakesh Kumar Mishra, director of CCMB.