Researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have developed a mouse model of the premature aging syndrome known as Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS), according to a report appearing in the journal Nature. Researchers hope the mouse model will facilitate a better understanding of the fatal syndrome, as well as provide clues to the normal aging process.
Currently, there is no treatment for progeria, and children with the rare condition usually die of heart disease in their early teens. Although normal at birth, children with progeria begin to develop growth retardation, thinning skin, and fragile bones as young as 18 months.
"The similarities between mice with this particular mutation and patients with progeria are remarkable," said Colin Stewart, Ph.D., of NCIs Center for Cancer Research, the senior investigator on the study. "Now that weve identified the critical gene and have an animal model that mimics progeria, we have powerful tools for studying both the aging process and this devastating disease."
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