Mus­cle gen­er­a­tions

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - By GIO­VANNI TORRE

THIS year marks five re­mark­able decades of work by Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy WA.

The Ned­lands-based group started when Pro­fes­sor By­ron Kaku­las and a group of par­ents worked with the Rotary Club of West Perth to es­tab­lish a body that would fund re­search and sup­port the mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy com­mu­nity.

Since then, Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy WA has chan­nelled mil­lions of dol­lars into so­cial sup­port and re­search.

Pro­fes­sor Kaku­las changed his­tory in the late 1950s when he gave vi­ta­min E to quokkas suf­fer­ing paral­y­sis.

“A mir­a­cle hap­pened – af­ter a few days, these an­i­mals started to get bet­ter. If you looked at the med­i­cal lit­er­a­ture at the time it said mus­cle, once de­gen­er­ated from dis­ease, had no abil­ity to re­cover,” Pro­fes­sor Kaku­las said.

In 1960, an ar­ti­cle by Pro­fes­sor Kaku­las cre­ated a world­wide sen­sa­tion – set­ting a prece­dent that mus­cle de­gen­er­a­tion could be treated.

“The im­pli­ca­tion from this dis­cov­ery was that a dis­ease like hu­man Duchenne Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy was treat­able,” he said.

“With the West Perth Rotary Club we launched a mas­sive ap­peal in 1969 that raised $225,000.”

Prof Kaku­las es­tab­lished the world’s first car­rier de­tec­tion and ge­netic coun­selling pro­gram that low­ered the in­ci­dence of new MD cases in Western Aus­tralia by more than half.

Pro­fes­sor By­ron Kaku­las has been at the fore­front of mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy re­search.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.