Research in veterinary medicine offering hope for youths with debilitating disease

Image: Texas A&M University

Research at Texas A&M is giving families whose young boys face Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) renewed hope as the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the research for human clinical trials. DMD is a severe form of muscular dystrophy caused by a genetic disorder characterized by muscle degeneration and weakness.

In humans, the disease primarily affects boys ages 4 to 17. To date, there has been no cure for the disease which usually claims the lives of those affected by their early 20’s.

DMD hits home with many of our students who have had the privilege of crossing paths with Texas A&M senior Kyle Cox, himself facing DMD. Kyle and his mother Kristen Cox are leaders in the DMD community in pursuit of a cure. They are also advocates for animal research conducted at Texas A&M and elsewhere which has allowed human trials to be possible. Kyle and Kristen also volunteer their time to train dogs from the study who are eligible to be adopted out as service dogs for children with DMD through an organization called Homes for Animal Heroes.

“Kyle has faced this disease head-on with a spirit of resilience,” said Kristen Cox. “I am so proud of his goal of receiving his Aggie ring and now on to graduation in May, which has beaten the odds as he continues to do. We are appreciative of the research that Texas A&M does and are hopeful for future generations affected with DMD.”

“I am proud of this development and of our animal researchers and outstanding faculty and staff who are working to solve the mystery of this dreadful disease,” said Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M. “Their ethical care – which includes clear protocol, oversight from multiple governmental agencies and accreditation from organizations such as the AAALAC which focus on the humane care of animals – treats these animals as the heroes that they are in support of finding a cure for this disease that affects humans and dogs alike. That this research has been approved to move to human clinical trials is a sign of hope for all.”

More at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

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