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Research vital in raising awareness of ageing disease

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 the disease for more than 10 years and in that time has helped families make decisions about drug treatments available in clinical trials and provided significant scientific information.

The research intends to help understand the basic biology of progeria, test the efficacy and safety of treatment and work towards a cure.

However, such is the team’s authority on the subject, it has led the way in promoting awareness of progeria locally, nationally and globally.

The team has presented its findings 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.

Meanwhile, Drs Kill and Bridger worked with the Okines family at the university in 2010 to film Channel 5 documentary Extraordinary People: The 96 Year Old Schoolgirl , raising awareness about the condition among a mainstream audience.