IIT Jodhpur opens research centre for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic disorder

DMD is the most common, fatal type of muscular dystrophy, marked by gradual muscle deterioration. In India, over five lakh boys are suffering from DMD.

IIT Jodhpur opens research centre for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic disorder IIT Jodhpur's research centre for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Anu Parthiban | Mar 16, 2022 - 1:48 p.m. IST
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Jodhpur: The Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur has established a research centre for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in collaboration with Dystrophy Annihilation Research Trust (DART) Bangalore and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Jodhpur. The centre aims to develop affordable therapeutics for this rare and incurable genetic disorder.

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DMD is the most common and fatal type of muscular dystrophy, marked by gradual muscle deterioration. The condition is predominantly seen in boys. In India, over five lakh boys are suffering from DMD. “The centre at IIT Jodhpur aims to develop affordable therapeutics for DMD and enhance the efficacy of Antisense Oligonucleotide (AON)-based therapeutics,” the institute said.

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“The AON-based therapeutics' idea is to hide or mask specific exons (a segment of a DNA or RNA molecule containing information coding for a protein) in a gene sequence. In DMD patients, one or more exons can be masked with specific molecules called AON or molecular patches. Due to these challenges, DMD patients need personalised medicine,” it said.

IIT Jodhpur further said that the current therapeutic options available to treat DMD are minimal and highly expensive (over Rs 2-3 crores per child a year). Drugs are mostly imported from abroad, accelerating dosing costs and putting them out of reach for most families.

The main focus areas of the DMD Research Centre at IIT Jodhpur include:

  • To design an affordable and effective therapeutic for DMD patients by adopting a bioengineered concept under the “Make in India” (AtmaNirbhar) initiative.
  • To conduct social outreach programmes to generate awareness about this condition and extend support for children with DMD and their parents.

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Towards this mission, the DMD Research Centre at IIT Jodhpur has hosted two-day-long outreach programmes. It has also initiated the expansion of this activity to every district in Rajasthan.

The current team involved in this project are Surajit Ghosh, Dean, Research and Development, professor of Bioscience and Bioengineering at IIT Jodhpur, Sudipta Bhattacharyya - assistant professor, Bioscience and Bioengineering at IIT Jodhpur, DibyenduSasmal- assistant professor, department of chemistry at IIT Jodhpur, Nirmal Rana - assistant professor, department of chemistry at IIT Jodhpur, Arun Shastry- chief scientific officer at DART Bangalore, Kuldeep Singh, dean academics at AIIMS Jodhpur and Dr Varuna Vyas, clinician and expert paediatrician, AIIMS Jodhpur.


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