People with DMD should have regular check-ups to assess the progression of their condition. One of the checks that can be carried out is a biopsy, which is effective, but is invasive and uncomfortable and can’t be done too often.
A good alternative to a muscle biopsy is MRI, which is not invasive and, unlike biopsies, can test whole muscles. It can also be repeated many times.
In DMD, like several other muscle-wasting conditions, fat and scar tissue replace muscles as the condition progresses. The Dixon method MRI technique can produce images of fat and water in muscles. This can be useful for measuring the later stage progression of DMD. However, it’s not sensitive enough to detect early changes in muscles and being able to monitor early-stage progression is important for successful management of DMD.
What the project aims to do
The researchers aim to develop a new MRI method sensitive enough to detect changes in muscle tissue during the early stages of DMD, and potentially for other muscle-wasting conditions.
Why this research is important
Being able to monitor the progression of any muscle-wasting condition early can have a strong positive impact on managing your condition from the outset. And a non-invasive technique is preferrable to a muscle biopsy. It could also be used in clinical trials to measure how a treatment is working.