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Two M'sian medical centres doing clinical trials to treat Duchenne
Published on: Sunday, July 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Clinical trials to treat a genetic disease known as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are now being conducted at two medical centres in Malaysia.

According to Catherine Jayasuriya, founder of Coalition Duchenne, a global charity committed to raising awareness and funding treatments for the disease, the centres are Kuala Lumpur Hospital and University Malaya Medical Centre.

"(Currently) there is no cure for Duchenne and the journey to finding one starts with patients and families willing to participate in a clinical trial in these two medical centres that are recruiting Duchenne patients for clinical trials sponsored by a US-based biopharmaceutical company," she said.

She was speaking at the flagging-off of the Coalition Duchenne's eighth Mount Kinabalu annual expedition here, Saturday, by Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew, who is also State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister.

Jayasuriya said this year's expedition was dedicated to raising awareness of the new opportunities for families to enrol in the clinical trials. Some 20 participants from countries such as Malaysia, Denmark, United Kingdom, Morocco and Germany are taking part in the expedition from Saturday until tomorrow (Monday).

Meanwhile, Liew, in her speech, assured that the State Government will assist Coalition Duchenne in its quest to raise awareness on Duchenne.

"We fully support the good cause she (Jayasuriya) and her organisation are doing.

"We are glad that Jayasuriya has come home to Sabah again. She is a Sabahan doing good things in the world.

"Over the years, the Coalition Duchenne's Mount Kinabalu expeditions have brought more than 500 climbers here from all over the world to raise awareness on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Through her promotion and media outreach, she has helped focus the world's attention on our State, its natural beauty and our friendly people," she said.

Liew said she heard about exciting developments in research to cure genetic diseases like Duchenne.

"There has been a breakthrough in recent weeks in gene therapy. A company that Coalition Duchenne has supported recently announced results that may eventually lead to a cure for the disease.

This may take many years to be safely secured, but it is a progress that we can all celebrate," she said.

About 20 climbers from Germany, UK, Australia, Malaysia, United States and Morocco will make the trek for this year's annual climb on July 21-23.

Also present were Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry's Permanent Secretary Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai, its Deputy Permanent Secretary Hajah Mariam Omar Matussin, Sabah Tourism Board Deputy General Manager Noredah Othman and Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd general manager Zachary Mobijohn. - Jo Ann Mool

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