Gene therapy

Jun 20, 2003

I’m writing a story about gene therapy for Endeavors Magazine, and tonight I interviewed the mother of a little girl the same age as Anna. Little Lana has Canavan disease, a fatal neuro-degenerative disorder. Soon after she was born, Lana grew stiff, was unable to hold up her head, and began to lose her vision. But, with the amazing technology of gene therapy, her symptoms are slowly reversing. Read more about Lana at http://18street.com/lana/.

Erin and I discussed prenatal genetic testing this week, and whether we should have any of the tests that can determine if our baby will have Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, fragile X syndrome or a host of other genetic disorders. Lana’s mother told me that she did have these tests on Lana, but the results promised a healthy baby. Even if those tests had included one for Canavan and warned her of Lana’s disease, she would still have given birth to her daughter. Why? Because there are dedicated scientists around the world striving to find new therapies and cures for disease. I’ve never talked to a more hopeful person.

EDIT: My gene therapy story is online: Special Delivery, Destination: the brain.

Anton Zuiker

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