Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy | KERA News

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

UT Southwestern Medical Center

A new gene-editing technique developed in North Texas shows promise in stunting Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe genetic disorder that affects about one in every 5,000 boys.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

There is no treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It’s a rare and fatal genetic condition that progressively weakens all muscles, including the heart. But scientists from UT Southwestern Medical Center have successfully used a gene editing tool to halt the disease in young mice.

When most little boys were running up and down stairs, Ben Dupree was using his arms to pull himself up the wood banister in his home in University Park. His mom, Debbie, knew something was wrong.

 

Willow Blythe / KERA News

Heading to high school is a challenge for any kid. There are new friends, new teachers and the normal ups and downs of being a teenager.

For 15-year-old Chance Hawkins, the road is even tougher. Chance has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that causes muscle weakness and deterioration. It’s often fatal by age 25.

Still, Chance is an upbeat kid. He's one of the students we’re following from 8th grade through high school for the series Class of 17, part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative.