A new wave of myostatin drugs in or nearing clinical-stage testing could make a significant impact on the ability to build muscle in patients who are elderly or suffering from muscle-wasting diseases, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
In the April 27 edition of WSJ, reporters Hester Plumridge and Marta Falconi describe the progress being made by several drug companies interested in refining myostatins for human use. These drugs are designed to block the production or detection of myostatin, a protein that slows muscle growth.
According to the article, researchers believe that myostatin drugs could counter sarcopenia as well as muscle-wasting diseases such as sporadic inclusion-body myositis and muscle loss related to chronic illnesses including cancer. Earlier versions of myostatins were attempted in the late 2000s as a treatment for muscular dystrophy but were discontinued after reports of unexplained nose and gum bleeding. The WSJ article reports that the new drugs "work in a slightly different way."
Sarcopenia can be managed through resistance exercises and dietary changes. APTA offers a consumer guide to sarcopenia and frailty at MoveForwardPT.com and features courses on frailty and mobility in the APTA Leaning Center (search "frailty" and "mobility").
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