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Raising awareness of ageing disease in children

Families can make better informed decisions about illness

Without leading research by academics at Brunel University London little would be known in the UK about the premature ageing syndrome progeria - a disease that usually kills sufferers in their teenage years. Brunel's Progeria Research Team, led by bioscientists Dr Ian Kill and Dr Joanna Bridger, has researched thedisease for more than 12 years. In that time, their findings have helped families make decisions about drug treatments available in clinical trials and furthered scientific understanding.

"We study progeria to understand the biological basis of normal ageing," Dr Kill told BBC News Online in a 2004 interview, shortly after discovering how the gene that causes progeria works. "People with progeria die from diseases that old people suffer from, primarily heart disease and stroke." Dr Kill's extensive research also aims to help shed further light on the basic biology of progeria, while testing treatment safety and effectiveness in order to work towards a cure.The team's work has led the way inpromoting awareness of progeria for those affected in the UK and else where.

Findings were presented to families of progeria sufferers in the UK in 2011, at US Progeria Research Foundation workshops between 2008 and 2013, and at the Progeria Family Meeting in Italy in 2012. Dr Kill and Dr Bridger worked with the Okines family at Brunel in 2010 to film the Channel 5 documentary Extraordinary People: The 96 Year Old Schoolgirl, giving mainstream attention to the condition.  See the documentary below. 


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