Dr Po Sheng Yang

Thanks to supporters of Nerve Connection Foundation, Dr Yang has been awarded a third Foundation fellowshipThis gives him the freedom to undertake ground-breaking research alongside his clinic and private practice obligations. 

Please click here if you would like more information on how you can make an impact on the research of Dr Yang and others like him.

Nerve Connection Foundation Fellow and self-confessed cricket tragic Dr Po Yang is looking forward to hitting a research six in an upcoming clinical trial.

Dr Yang is part of a team of researchers at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and Wesley Hospital looking into the effectiveness of a drug it is hoped will go a long way towards treating myotonic dystrophy.

One of a bundle of rare diseases targeted by the Foundation, myotonic dystrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy, is also known as Steinert disease.  It is a progressive inherited neuromuscular disorder characterised by muscle weakness and myotonia, which is an inability to voluntarily relax muscles.  Its effects can also give rise to cardiomyopathy, diabetes mellitus, respiratory failure, cataracts and cognitive impairment.

The disorder is caused by excess ribonucleic acid repeats in a particular protein kinase gene, which ultimately produces mis-functioning proteins and results in the effects of myotonic dystrophy.  The upcoming trial will involve a drug called VX-670, which will be administered as part of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalating study. Phase one will look at safety and dose tolerability aspects before the team commences phase two.

Dr Yang is hopeful that this clinical trial will hit the abnormal gene process into the stands, allowing doctors to reverse the progression of the disease and improve daily functioning and quality of life for sufferers.