Could Soy be the Future of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Treatment?

According to a video and article published by Duchenne UK, Professor Steve Winder has been granted additional funds to study the effectiveness of soy as a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This represents more than £135,000 donated to Professor Winder’s research by Duchenne UK. Research began by studying a soy product used by many Duchenne muscular dystrophy families known as Haelan 951. Keep reading to learn more, or follow the original source here for more information.

What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?

Duchenne muscular dystrophy, also referred to as DMD or Duchenne, is one of nine forms of muscular dystrophy. People living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy typically experience muscle weakness as a result fo their body being unable to produce dystrophin. This may eventually lead to difficulties with the heart, and lungs, as well as quadriplegia.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an inherited condition passed by an x-linked recessive pattern. On a global scale, Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects one in every 3,500 male births and one in about every 50 million female births.

Click here to learn more about Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Studying Soy

Haelan 951 is a fermented soy product used by many families with children affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The product is thought to slow the progression of Duchenne but prior to 2016 no scientific research existed. That ultimately led to Duchenne UK funding research by Professor Winder.

Winder’s first study compared the effects of three products: Haelan 951, genistein, and Bowman Birk Inhibitor (BBI). The study tested all three on mdx mice – a popular model used to study Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Both genistein and BBI are found in Haelan 951. Results of the study indicated that only BBI produced a significant effect. While Halean 951, genistein, and the combination of genistein and BBI were all relatively ineffective, BBI demonstrated an ability to improve grip strength.

A major benefit of BBI, should it prove effective in future studies, is that it is derived from soy. It is both a naturally occurring substance, and low cost to produce as a result. According to Duchenne UK’s co-founder, Emily Crossley, BBI could provide a highly accessible treatment that would be available to Duchenne patients without even requiring a prescription.

Further Study

The funding from Duchenne UK will allow Professor Winder to study BBI dosages. The group hopes that through the dose-escalation study it will become apparent whether BBI is dose dependent or not. It will also allow researchers to determine, in regards to the mouse model, which doses are most effective at treating or slowing symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Should BBI continue to prove effective (researchers will use such indicators as histology, biomarkers, and muscle performance), the next step would be for the research team to file with TACT in preparation for a clinical trial.

A video can also be found accompanying this story here.


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