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For Many Boys With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Bright Hope Lies Just Beyond Reach


Lucas was 5 before his parents, Bill and Marci Barton of Grand Haven, Mich., finally got an explanation for his difficulties standing up or climbing stairs. The diagnosis: muscular dystrophy.

Mr. Barton turned to Google.

“The first thing I read was, ‘no cure, in a wheelchair in their teens, pass in their 20s,” Mr. Barton said. “I stopped. I couldn’t read any more. I couldn’t handle it.”

Then he found a reason to hope. For the first time ever, there are clinical trials — nearly two dozen — testing treatments that might actually stop the disease.

The problem, as Mr. Barton soon discovered, is that the enrollment criteria are so restrictive that very few children qualify. As a result, families like the Bartons often are turned away.

For Many Boys With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Bright Hope Lies Just Beyond Reach