Scientists silenced the extra copy of a chromosome that causes Down syndrome in laboratory stem cells, offering the first evidence that it may be possible to correct the genes responsible for the disorder.
The findings, published today in the journal Nature, offer new cell models for developing potential treatments, researchers said. The models, aided by gene-manipulating technology from Sangamo Biosciences Inc. (SGMO), may help researchers discover drug targets for other ill health effects that come with the syndrome, including heart disease, hearing difficulties, and weakened muscles.
This is incredibly hopeful news for millions of afflicted individuals world wide. And the findings will hopefully lead to some actual treatments that will increase the mental acuity, cure the physical impairments, and ultimately prolong the life of this population.
I have worked with a number of teens diagnosed with Down syndrome and it can be quite challenging, especially when you witness what a struggle it is for them to communicate with others and navigate past obstacles, both physical and mental, which cause little difficulty for their peers.
It is somewhat ironic that science has developed this procedure after certain fans of the Grizzled Mama declared that only prayer could ease the suffering of perhaps the most famous Down syndrome afflicted child in the country.
Do you remember this:
"Science has no way to undo this condition, which is the result of an extra chromosome; but God can. When Trig Palin is found to be miraculously healed, everyone but the most hardened atheist will have to acknowledge God's Majesty!" Pray 4 Trig, the "Worldwide Day of Prayer to Heal Trig Palin."
Gee who would have thought that people working hard in a laboratory would make progress in solving a problem that stymied a bunch of people kneeling on the floor and murmuring into their hands?