Healthy Living: Funding the Fight Against M.D.

It attacks the heart and breathing muscles in boys and young men. Those with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy will likely die well before they reach their mid-20's. Now, one young man and his father are focusing on prolonging lives… until there's a cure. Robyn Haines tells us how a new ground-breaking study is now possible because of their efforts in Healthy Living.


Ryan Ballou suffers from a rare genetic disease passed from mother to son, called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Ryan's dad Ty knows it will eventually kill his boy. But because of various medications, Ryan's damaged heart is still strong. Cardiologist Subha Ramen from the Ohio State University saw promise in the minimally scarred muscle. 


Doctor Ramen wanted to test a combination of the common heart failure drugs– Spironolactone and Lisinopril. Both of the drugs are known to be anti-fibrotic or prevent scarring. But there was no money to do that… so, Ty and Ryan created “Ballou Skies.” Now, the group has its own triathlon team. Ty says with help from the athletes, “Ballou Skies” has raised more than 70-thousand dollars for the research effort.


Doctor Ramen says without that money there would be no research. Now that is it happening, the team is seeing improvement in heart muscle structure and function. Clinical trials are expected to start in the next several months. Doctor Ramen says because both drugs are already available, the FDA can use data from the clinical trials to add M.D. treatment to their existing approved uses.