14 November 2019

MD conference explores advances in management and treatment of neuromuscular disorders

In his opening remarks at the 2019 Muscular Dystrophy Conference, Perron Institute Founding Director, Emeritus Professor Byron Kakulas AO spoke about what he described as the golden age of molecular genetics and its benefits for the treatment of neuromuscular disorders.

“In the past many brilliant minds have been devoted over the decades to finding the causes of such disorders but were frustrated. This changed when Louis Kunkel of Harvard University discovered the gene for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and when our own Sue Fletcher and Steve Wilton in brilliant research found a way of overcoming the causative mutation.“

“Today, rapid advances in DNA technology have taken us to the brink of having effective, curative treatments.

“The development of EXONDYS 51 as a current treatment for Duchenne through the innovative work of Professors Sue Fletcher and Steve Wilton is an example.

“The progress being made in research into neuromuscular diseases makes it more important than ever to maintain the physical, psychological and psychosocial condition of people affected so they can derive the best benefit from treatments as they become available,” Professor Kakulas said.

The wide-ranging MD 2019 conference held over two days was presented by Muscular Dystrophy WA, with the Perron Institute the major sponsor. It included international, national and state-based speakers. The keynote address on the topic of anxiety and depression in young adults with neuromuscular disorders was given by Dr James Poysky, a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist from Texas, USA.

Director of the Perron Institute Professor Steve Wilton was a session chair and with his long time collaborator Professor Sue Fletcher they gave an update on the 24th International Annual Congress of the World Muscle Society – Emerging Therapies for Neuromuscular Disorders.

Professors Wilton and Fletcher, both based at Murdoch University are heading the genetic research being undertaken at the Centre for Molecular and Innovative Therapeutics, a partnership between Murdoch University and the Perron Institute.