From pages 136-137 of the report:
Memorandum from Dr Henning Wackerhage and Dr Aivaras Ratkevicius, School of Medical Sciences, College of Life Sciences & Medicine, University of Aberdeen
Anti-myostatin Drugs: The New Anabolic Steroids?
1. Myostatin function
Myostatin is a key regulator of muscle mass: it is a peptide that potently inhibits muscle growth. Experimental myostatin knockout in mice or some natural mutations of the myostatin gene increase muscle mass dramatically in mice, cattle and human beings. The case of a boy with twice the normal muscle mass due to a “natural” myostatin mutation was reported widely.
2. Anti-myostatin drugs
Muscle wasting is a problem in a wide variety of conditions that include normal ageing, HIV/AIDS and some forms of cancer. Anti-myostatin therapy seems suitable for many of these conditions. Myostatin is an “easy” drug target because it can be targeted extracellularly, acts tissue specific and because endogenous inhibitors can be mimicked. It is also a commercially attractive drug target because it is suitable for the prevention of muscle wasting in the whole elderly population. This could be a crucial intervention leading to greater independence in ageing Western societies.
3. Current drug development
Wyeth are currently testing the eVectiveness of a monoclonal anti-myostatin antibody (MYO-029) on patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). Results are expected for late 2006. Thus it seems likely that antimyostatin drugs will become available well before the 2012 London Olympics. Bogus anti-myostatin treatments (Myozap) are commercially available showing the desire of bodybuilders and others to achieve muscle growth by inhibiting myostatin.
6. Executive summary
Myostatin inhibitors are likely to become available well before the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
There is little doubt that they will be abused by bodybuilders and other strength/power athletes. Myostatin inhibitors are likely to be safer than anabolic steroids, growth hormone and clenbuterol which are drugs currently used to attempt to increase muscle mass. If monoclonal anti-myostatin antibodies are used to inhibit myostatin then the detection in blood should be easy but it is unclear whether the detection in urine is feasible. Research is needed to develop urine-based detection methods.
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