As with all animals we’ve seen with myostatin inhibition, the monkeys at NCH enjoyed some serious boosts in strength. The macaques exhibited enhanced muscle growth for 12 weeks after treatment, beyond which muscle mass stabilized. The average circumference of the animals quadriceps increased by 15%. Using electric stimulation (you can’t order a monkey to lift weights) scientists were able to observe profound increases in leg strength. One specimen demonstrated a 78% increase over control results.
The next step for NCH is toxicology and biodistribution tests as outlined by the FDA. After that, further rounds of testing will be necessary before human clinical trials can begin. Still, considering the lack of negative side effects, and the profound need from the Muscular Dystrophy community, one hopes that those trials will begin in the next few years. If ultimately successful, follistatin gene therapy could treat the symptoms of MD while different genetic therapies could affect the causes of some forms of MD. And let’s not forget the weight-lifting 800 pound gorilla in the room. Along with MD treatments, and therapies for muscle loss in old age, the defeat of myostatin could lead to an effective way for all of us to get fit fast. No workouts necessary, eat almost all you want, and have a body like Adonis. This research is taking us one step closer to that goal…but it still sounds too good to be true. We can’t all be Superman, can we?