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Reversing muscle loss in patients

Many patients with cancer experience loss of weight and muscle wasting, a process known as cachexia. This process cannot be reversed by simply getting the patient to consume more calories and sadly, if the person has cachexia they are much less likely to survive. There are currently no effective treatments against muscle wasting in cancer and this is the focus of Dr Giuseppina Caretti’s Worldwide Cancer Research grant. She is focussing on a protein called myostatin which is present at high levels in cachexia. Dr Caretti hopes that by blocking myostatin and its effects, she can reverse muscle loss and increase survival time in mice. If successful, she hopes her work could later be tested in patients.