It's a disease that affects one out of 8,000,000 infants -- and causes
them to grow old before their time: A rare and fatal disease called
"HUTCHINSON-GILFORD PROGERIA SYNDROME" causes the body
to age at an extreme rate. But, now, there's hope that cells affected
by this disease can be made healthy again -- according to a study conducted
by researchers at the National Cancer Institute. One of the researchers -- Dr. Tom Misteli --
believes this study could bring scientists one step closer to
understanding this devastating childhood disease...
"What's amazing to me is that you can take a defective cell from a patient,
and you can eliminate this one bad protein, and the cell still has the potential
to function perfectly normally. So, the cell really is able to recover from this
defect. So, if we can find a way to eliminate this mutant protein in patient cells,
there's no reason why these cells shouldn't behave normally. That obviously would be a very
significant step toward therapy."
The symptoms of "HUTCHINSON-GILFORD PROGERIA SYNDROME" are stunted growth, loss of
hair and body fat, joint stiffness, osteoporosis, and heart problems -- which, according
to Dr. Misteli, constitutes the leading cause of death. Affected children usually
die before they reach their late teens.
This is Wally Akinso, The National Institutes of
Health, Bethesda, Maryland.