Duchenne's muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease that mostly affects young boys who get paralyzed and bound to the wheelchair by the age of 12 and who die in their teen age from respiratory failure.

The disease occurs in boys who have a defect in the gene that produces a protein called dystrophin. Dystrophin is a protein needed for the production of muscle fiber. When dysthrophin is not produced muscle tissue becomes slack with fat and connective tissue.
There has been no cure for this disease.

Ten years ago, researches from Italy discovered a type of stem cell in blood vessels that can be manipulated to grow into smooth and skeletal muscle cells. The generated cells would contain whole copies of the gene that make dystrophin.

Researchers did their first studies on dogs that suffered from an animal version of muscular dystrophy. They injected the dogs the dystrophin-producing stem cells into the blood stream.

One out of the three dogs that were injected with the stem cells was walking well five months after the treatment had started.
The researchers are very cautious about the findings but they do not hide their excitement about the possible muscular dystrophy treatment. It will take at least another two to three years of studying and testing in order for human trials to begin.