New Directions

NEW DIRECTIONS IN RESEARCH
SUBMITTED BY ELLEN BURNS, VICE PRESIDENT & MEDICAL LIAISON

Dr. Bob Brown, Director of the Day Neuromuscular Research Laboratory in Charlestown, Massachusetts, is well known to the Deater family. From the first family blood drawing to the discovery of the gene that causes HSN I, he has supported research into the “Deater Disease.” Dr. Brown has once again expressed his intention to pursue finding the cause and cure for HSN I.

The field of molecular biology continues to advance rapidly. Researchers are able to use new computers and other technology to sort out the mechanisms of disease. In the study of many diseases, medicine has moved from the study of external causes (germs, chemicals) to the study of biochemical defects within the cells themselves. Scientists study the actual diseased cells and try to re-create the pathology.

Lots of colonies of cells can be nurtured and grown from a small skin biopsy. One of the uses of such colonies would be to expose each to a different drug, to see if the cells responded. Imagine rows of petri dishes, (remember high school biology)? In each dish is a different drug. The cells are introduced and scientists observe

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