W.O.W. 1/01/14-Happy New Year and BYM338

UE was closed for the Holiday, so I took the opportunity to get a workout in.  I slept late after working New Years Eve, so I was well-rested.  Today was legs/abs day.

Calf Exercise on MedX Leg Press

MedX Abdominal

TSC Hip Abduction

MedX Leg Press

Since my last posting I also did my shoulder and arm rotation.  It has been hectic, so I don’t recall the exact dates, but I have compressed my rotation down from every 5th day, to every 3rd or 4th day.  So far, recovery has been fine.

Shoulders:  MedX overhead press, rear delt fly, lateral raise, shrug

Arms:  Nautilus Plate Load Biceps with SS cam, close grip pulldown, Nautilus Plate Load Triceps, MedX Chest Press (narrow grip on vertical handles), Compound Row, Formulator flex/ext

Things have been relatively quiet on the Myostatin front since the Myostatin blocking drug MYO-029 fell off the map in Phase II trials.  However, Novartis has recently been given approval to proceed with clinical trials on their new drug “Bimagrumab” or BYM338.  This drug reportedly blocks binding of the Activin II receptor where Myostatin  and Activan A attach.  Myostatin and Activin A are proteins that inhibit muscle growth and act as major governors of muscle growth and differentiation.  These proteins are over-expressed in certain disease states such as cancer, AIDS, COPD, glucocorticoid and corisol-induced atrophy, sarcopenia of aging, as well as atrophy related to inactivity or low-gravity environments.  The fact that this drug blocks a receptor rather than abolishing the production of the regulatory protein is promising because it can avoid the unintended side-effects of completely eliminating a regulatory protein, and it allows for a potential dose-dependent effect.  This drug holds great promise for those with muscle wasting diseases that are refractory to the exercise stimulus.  From my own standpoint, I am fascinated to learn what this drug may teach us about the regulation of muscular potential.  While there is certainly a potential for abuse in athletics, there is also the potential for leveling the playing field such that athletes in a given endeavor could have their engines “governed” in an equal way much like the rules in NASCAR racing.  Hopefully, fear of the drug’s potential use (or abuse) in the athletic realm will not prevent it from being available to those with legitimate disease states.

Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Dec 2. [Epub ahead of print]

An Antibody Blocking Activin type II Receptors Induces Strong Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy and Protects from Atrophy.


The myostatin/Activin type II receptor (ActRII) pathway has been identified as critical in regulating skeletal muscle size. Several other ligands, including GDF11 and the Activins, signal through this pathway, suggesting that the ActRII receptors are major regulatory nodes in the regulation of muscle mass. We have developed a novel, human anti-ActRII antibody (“Bimagrumab”, aka BYM338) to prevent binding of ligands to the receptors, and thus inhibit downstream signaling. BYM338 enhances differentiation of primary human skeletal myoblasts, and counteracts the inhibition of differentiation induced by myostatin or Activin A. BYM338 prevents myostatin or Activin A induced atrophy through inhibition of Smad2/3 phosphorylation, thus sparing myosin heavy chain from degradation. BYM338 dramatically increases skeletal muscle mass in mice, beyond sole inhibition of myostatin as detected by comparing the antibody with a myostatin inhibitor. A mouse version of the antibody induces enhanced muscle hypertrophy in myostatin-mutant mice, further confirming a beneficial effect on muscle growth through blockade of ActRII ligands beyond myostatin inhibition alone. BYM338 protects muscles from glucocorticoid-induced atrophy and weakness, via prevention of muscle and tetanic force losses.These data highlight the compelling therapeutic potential of BYM338 for the treatment of multiple settings of skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness.

Post your WOW’s and your thoughts

506 thoughts on “W.O.W. 1/01/14-Happy New Year and BYM338”

  1. After a hard week at work, i have just had the most enjoyable weekend that i have had in quite some time.

    Saturday morning, WOW, the usual ‘Big 5’, with emphasis on proper technique, breathing etc. No rest between exercises, and i am experiencing improvements with each session. I find the battle between fight or flight intriguing, but one i seem to be winning with each workout.

    I then went with a good mate to a drag race meet, nitro fumes, rubber, smoke, noise, fast cars, great competition, love it, love it, love it.

    Caught up with a few old acquaintances afterwards, a couple of red wines, great times.

    Sunday morning, dragged the bike out of the shed, pumped the tyres up, rode for just over an hour. As its the first time i have ridden my bike since my prostste surgery, i wasnt sure how it would go. Had a great ride, got a bit gassed on the hills, but still very enjoyable.

    To me, that weekend was the perfect end to a hectic week, work/life balance at its best.

  2. Marc, you are forgetting your physics!

    From the wikipedia article:
    “In physics, potential energy is energy stored in a system of forcefully interacting physical entities.”

    In the case of this system, the entities are the weight stack, and the earth’s center of gravity.

    Potential energy is, by definition, stored energy, or energy that will immediately turn into kinetic energy once the restraining force (be it the ground, a rope, or the cable holding the weight stack) is removed.

    If you hoist a weight up by a pulley and anchor it in the elevated position, you have stored energy in the weight in the form of potential energy. In the same way, if you move your dumbbell away from you, against the resistance of the band, you have stored energy in the form of potential energy.

    This is quite elementary, dear watson.

  3. Bryce,

    And….if you hook a resistance band to weight on your pulley, it will increase the resistance going up and slow it down, and release that on the way down speeding the descent of said weight…..we were talking weight lifting……Word games….and…slick Willie.

  4. Yes Marc, it will release it’s potential energy, just like a weight lifted away from the ground will. You are nit picking my semantics, not the other way around. I trust everyone else here understands that kinetic energy is ‘stored’ (converted) into potential energy when you lift a weight. If you don’t that’s fine. We don’t have to play word games if you don’t want.

    In other, very tragic news, I just read that a Crossfit competitor severed his T-Spine during a barbell snatch event at a competition. Makes me sick to think about it. There is a fundraising campaign which has already raised $36,000 for his treatment, as he had no insurance. That level of community support is surely inspiring. But what an injury to suffer in the name of health.

    I understand that any competitive athlete assumes risk, and this injury is so catastrophic as to elicit dismissal of crossfit, despite being a black swan due to its extremity. But I wonder how many non-competitive athletes have performed nearly identical workouts in the boxes or garages. We don’t have to speculate as to how often injuries occur for the recreational lifter, even if they aren’t as life altering as below the waist paralysis.

    Sigh. Sad.

  5. Bryce,

    Black Swans are not just rare, they are unpredictable. This sad event is not a black Swan because something of this nature was predictable.

    It was not a matter of if…but of when.

  6. Doug,

    You’re right. The actual injury seems unusual, but when you throw enough people into the meat grinder enough times, well …

    Apparently he failed to lockout the weight over head, and as he started to rise out of the squat, his arms buckled and the bar fell directly onto his spine. I suppose it could just have easily happened at an olympic weightlifting event, but I feel a weightlifter is more experienced and better at dumping a missed lift then someone who does the lifts recreationally, even if they are good at them and practice often.

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