Muscular dystrophies comprise a heterogeneous cluster of inherited muscle degenerative disorders with the common feature of progressive muscle weakness. These represent good candidates for treatment with gene-based therapies. Progress in gene transfer technologies has raised hopes for successful therapeutic restoration of mutated genes such as dystrophin in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Delivery to enough muscle cells, however, remains a challenge for a successful gene replacement therapy. Other approaches based on exon skipping to correct mutant dystrophin’s pre-mRNA splicing patterns have been tried, and partial restoration of dystrophin expression was reported in late-stage clinical trials, but full therapeutic efficacy is yet to be confirmed. The emergence of gene editing and its recent success in AIDS have opened a new therapeutic era for muscular dystrophies. This chapter will cover new gene correction strategies for muscular dystrophies and their regulatory challenges before they can become routine treatment modalities in the clinic.
Part of the book: Modern Tools for Genetic Engineering