Breakthrough may one day prevent Down syndrome

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WORCESTER, MA – There’s been a breakthrough in Down syndrome research.

“I think it deserves more of the mind bending, out of the box designation. It’s pretty impressive,” says Dr. Arthur Beaudet, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine.

If you’re not familiar with Down syndrome, it’s a genetic condition where an extra chromosome causes varying degrees of mental and physical impairment.

A report published in the journal Nature reveals researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have found a way to silence the extra gene.

“These investigators found a very ingenious way to inactivate one. Basically it should restore a Down syndrome cell to be more like a normal cell,” says Dr. Beaudet.

If that sounds like a cure for Downs syndrome, you’re right, sort of.

“Cure is okay here. I think they have cured a Down syndrome cell now whether we can cure all the cells in a Down syndrome patient, that would be another very big leap.”

And one that will take a lot of testing and time.

“I would say helping a patient or a newborn child with Down syndrome I would say is at least 10 years away but sometimes you get surprised.”

Let’s hope for another surprise, the sooner the better.