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Muscular Dystrophy: Drugs

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer of 11 May 2006, Official Report, column 554W, on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, what recent assessment has been made of progress of research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy administered by LGC Ltd; and if she will make a statement; (146057)

(2) what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of exon skipping as a potential therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy;

(3) what plans her Department has to trial the drug Losartan for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The £1.6 million, four-year programme (2005-08) of research towards a phase 1 clinical trial for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) that the Department has been supporting is administered through the company LGC Ltd. Progress is assessed through quarterly reports, and site visits by LGC Ltd. The programme started in January 2005.

My noble Friend the Minister of State for Health (Lord Hunt) met with representatives from the DMD research team on 15 March. The MDEX Consortium research and clinical trial is progressing well, with the first patient due to receive the first dose of the experimental molecule within the next few months. According to the group’s latest report of April 2007, ethical approval for the phase 1 clinical trial is in place and regulatory approvals are expected to be given soon. The clinical trial is predicted to take place through to the end of 2008.

Research in the United States has demonstrated that Losartan may improve muscle regeneration in mice with DMD. We are not aware of any human clinical trials organised in the United Kingdom.