News of a giant step toward treating the most common form of muscular dystrophy should give new hope to MD sufferers and those with other "incurable" diseases as well.

In the finding, described as "exciting" scientists corrected a muscle defect in mice by injecting them with immature muscle cells.Mice that could not make a protein called dystrophin in their muscles began to produce it after the injections. In humans, lack of the protein causes Duchenne MD, the most common and severe form of the disease.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that strikes boys almost exclusively, appearing in about one in every 3,500 male births in the United States. It causes a progressive weakening and wasting of voluntary muscles. Most patients must use wheelchairs by age 12, and most die in their early 20s.

The researchers tested an experimental therapy using immature muscle cells called myoblasts, which normally help repair muscle fibers that have broken because of injury or strenuous exercise.

The successful MD research results are important on at least two counts for those suffering from other "incurable" diseases.

For one thing, it shows that dedicated scientists, working against all kinds of odds, are committed to the task of finding cures.

For another, it demonstrates that with time, adequate funding and proper equipment, progress can be made against the most stubborn "incurable" ailments. It's a reason to keep hoping, no matter how bleak a situation may look at the present.