Supporting World Duchenne Awareness Day 2020…….Virtually!
While Stage 4 restrictions have prevented our planned events to raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), researchers at the Centre for Muscle Research are still eager to support this event virtually.
There are many types of muscular dystrophy which are all are caused by errors in genes. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common and severe genetic disease of muscle wasting, affecting 1 in 3,500 boys around the world.
Currently, there is no cure for DMD.
Boys with DMD do not express the protein dystrophin due to a mutation in the dystrophin gene, located on the X chromosome. Without this crucial protein, the muscles of Duchenne boys become fragile and continue to break down and regenerate throughout their life. Eventually, they lose the ability to use their muscles and more often than not require a wheelchair by their teenage years. While the average life expectancy is 26 years, modern medicine and early detection have helped some individuals live to their 30s or even 40s.
In the absence of a cure, researchers at the Centre for Muscle Research within The University of Melbourne are passionate about improving the quality of life for these bright, young men through our own research.
Annually our researchers at the Centre eagerly support this event, paying tribute to colleagues, friends and families that are affected. This year due to COVID-19 stage 4 restrictions, our team members and their families (and pets!) have joined to make this virtual event special and to support World Duchenne Awareness Day from our homes and gardens.
People who regularly follow the Centre and our research will be aware that we have been touched by a recent loss of one of our students who suffered from DMD.
Our beloved PhD candidate, Savant Thakur, sadly succumbed to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy on 16 June 2019, at 27 years old.
Savant was a talented scholar and determined researcher who continues to be a source of inspiration to the CMR, the University, and the wider community. He dedicated his Ph.D. years to finding a cure for the disease that he had lived with since childhood.
Marking the recent anniversary of Savant’s passing, Professor Gordon Lynch, Director of the Centre, said:
“We remember Savant most fondly and remain inspired by his incredible fortitude and passion for research. His genuine warmth and compassion were very special. Savant’s doctoral research continues to generate important, quality publications informing the field of muscle biology.”
Savant’s legacy continues with the School through the Savant Thakur Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship recognises a talented research scholar, who has demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity and provided leadership in the community – consistent with the attributes and achievements of Savant.
DMD research within the CMR
Our researchers continue to explore different ways to limit the severity of disease in muscle and other organs affected by the loss of Dystrophin, in order to maximise health in DMD patients. This includes understanding and investigating disease processes in DMD tissues, and assessing the potential for various drug therapies, nutritional interventions, supplements, and biomechanical stimulation to improve muscle health and overall quality of life for DMD patients.