World Community Grid and researchers supported by Decrypthon, a partnership between AFM (French Muscular Dystrophy Association), CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) and IBM are investigating protein-protein interactions for 40,000 proteins whose structures are known, with particular focus on those proteins that play a role in neuromuscular diseases. The database of information produced will help researchers design molecules to inhibit or enhance binding of particular macromolecules, hopefully leading to better treatments for muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases.
What is neuromuscular disease and muscular dystrophy?
Neuromuscular disease is a generic term for a group of disorders (more than 200 in all) that impair muscle functioning either directly through muscle pathology (muscular dystrophy) or indirectly through nerve pathology. Most of them are rare (affecting less than one person in 2,000), have a genetic origin (80%) and affect both children and adults. These chronic diseases lead to a decrease in muscle strength, causing serious disabilities in motor functions (moving, breathing etc.). Disease expression is variable; some disorders are progressive, while others remain stable for several years, and the same disease can cause different symptoms from one person to the next.
Despite advances in therapeutic techniques, there is currently no curative treatment available for persons affected by neuromuscular diseases.