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Common BP Drug Treats Muscular Dystrophy

muscle architecture "over the long haul," says Dietz.

The team then measured muscle strength of untreated DMD mice as well as mice treated for nine months with losartan by connecting the muscles to tiny "force-meters" that measured contraction after an electrical stimulus. While the untreated DMD muscles were "very weak," according to Dietz, losartan-treated DMD muscles were "indistinguishable" from normal muscles in how strongly they contracted.

"We may have a real treatment alternative for a fatal disease-Duchenne muscular dystrophy-that improves both length and quality of life," says Cohn.

"For so many reasons, we're excited about these studies and their potential to transform the care of patients with both Marfan syndrome and Duchenne muscular dystrophy," says Dietz. "First, this treatment strategy comes from understanding the basic science, the molecular underpinnings of the disease. Second, the treatment has worked exceptionally well in animal models. Third, we are not dealing with a mysterious compound that was simply pulled off the shelf - losartan has already been proven safe," says Dietz.

"Furthermore, losing the ability to regenerate muscle over time is seen in many inherited and acquired muscle diseases and is even part of the normal aging process," adds Cohn. "We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg."

Losartan first approved for use as a blood pressure medication in 1995 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, often is used as an alternative to other antihypertensive drugs in people who cannot tolerate other blood pressure medicines.



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