Muscular dystrophies are a heterogeneous group of genetic diseases, characterized by progressive degeneration of skeletal and cardiac muscle. Despite the intense investigation of different therapeutic options, a definitive treatment has not been developed for this debilitating class of pathologies. Cell-based therapies in muscular dystrophies have been pursued experimentally for the last three decades. Several cell types with different characteristics and tissues of origin, including myogenic stem and progenitor cells, stromal cells, and pluripotent stem cells, have been investigated over the years and have recently entered in the clinical arena with mixed results. In this Review, we do a roundup of the past attempts and describe the updated status of cell-based therapies aimed at counteracting the skeletal and cardiac myopathy present in dystrophic patients. We present current challenges, summarize recent progress, and make recommendations for future research and clinical trials.
Stefano Biressi, Antonio Filareto, Thomas A. Rando