Studies of innovative therapies for muscular dystrophy raise unique ethical issues. The disease is currently untreatable and relentlessly progressive. A number of potentially efficacious treatments are being developed, but like all treatments, they may have unforeseen adverse effects. Nevertheless, patients and families, facing a bleak future, may be willing to take the gamble and try the treatments. Many doctors are eager to study them. But should institutional review boards approve them? This article discusses these issues and recounts the ways that one such study elicited different responses from different institutional review boards.