Muscle atrophy (cachexia) in cancer patients is a life-threatening condition for which therapeutic options are limited. Zhou et al. (2010) now identify a new target for treating cachexia, the activin type-2 receptor (ActRIIB). In several mouse models of cachexia, the authors reversed wasting of skeletal and cardiac muscle and increased life span by blocking ActRIIB with a decoy receptor.
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