Exciting new advances in the field of muscular dystrophy research will be the subject of a free public lecture by a world expert in the field, at The University of Western Australia.
Professor Dame Kay Davies, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Oxford, has a major interest in the development of treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a relentlessly progressive and incurable muscle wasting disorder, and one of the most common fatal genetic disorders to affect children around the world.
Approximately one in every 3,500 boys worldwide is afflicted with DMD with one third of cases presenting with no prior family history of disease. Symptoms usually appear in boys before the age of six years. At age six, affected boys have difficulty in keeping up with their peers, may appear clumsy and fall easily. By age 10, boys have difficulty walking, and patients are confined to a wheelchair by age 12. Eventually, all muscles are affected and patients experience increased difficulty in breathing. The condition is terminal and death usually occurs before the age of 30.
In her lecture, "Approaches to muscular dystrophy therapy: the partnership between patients, clinicians and biotechnology", Professor Davies will discuss some of the promising treatments for DMD and other human muscle diseases being investigated. They include stem cell therapy, gene therapy, replacing the missing gene using viruses or plasmids, correction of the defective gene, and switching on other proteins as substitutes for the defective or missing ones.
Professor Davies is Director of Oxford's MRC Functional Genomics Unit, a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. She is a Governor of the Wellcome Trust.
The lecture is part of the Indian Ocean Rim Muscle Colloquium being held at UWA from 21 - 23 January. The Colloquium brings together leading researchers from India, Singapore and Australia. Visit https://www.anhb.uwa.edu.au/muscle2009 for more information.
Free and open to the public, the lecture is at 6pm on Wednesday 21 January, in the Theatre Auditorium, University Club (Carpark P3 off Hackett Drive Entrance 1).
Audrey Barton (Institute of Advanced Studies) (+61 8) 6488 1340
Dr Kristen Nowak (Centre for Medical Research) (+61 8) 9346 7377 / (+61 4) 31 568 651
Sally-Ann Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 7975 / (+61 4) 20 790 098