Table 1

‚ÄÉHuman gene therapy studies with potential application to sport

Muscular dystrophyUsing animals with muscular dystrophy caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, it is possible with gene therapy to inject into muscle a functional dystrophin gene.4 The effects observed include a reduction in contraction induced injury, and an increase in muscle bulk.
Muscular atrophyThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States has shown that space travel can produce skeletal muscle atrophy. Experimental studies are now underway to determine the preventive effects of IGF1 in a retroviral vector given regularly by intramuscular injection.5
Rheumatoid arthritisPhase I studies show little toxicity when inflammatory molecules such as interleukin 1 are inhibited by intra-articular injection of gene therapy products.6