Breakthrough in Down's Syndrome treatment

Scientist at the University of Massachusetts have discovered the treatment breakthrough. Photo:

A team of scientists working in London are welcoming the latest breakthrough in the treatment of Down's Syndrome and appealing for individuals affected to join their research.

Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and University College London have been working closely with the team in the United States who have published findings that could eventually lead to the elimination of some common but devastating illnesses linked to Down's syndrome.

Professor Dean Nizetic, a stem-cell specialist, hailed the new studies as "very exciting". He says that it's particularly encouraging that it's a naturally occurring genetic switch that could be used to turn off or silence the extra chromosome that is responsible for the genetic disorder.

He stressed that it would be "very many years" before they could transfer the research from the laboratory to humans. But when, or if, this is possible it's hoped that the genes responsible for making people with Down's Syndrome more susceptible to diseases such as leukaemia or epilepsy, can be eliminated.

He is currently working with a team that are looking at very similar ways of helping improve the quality of life for those with Down's and would like anyone with the syndrome to help. They need to take small amounts of DNA from hair samples or skin to use in their research.

He is asking individuals or parents with babies or children with Down's to contact his research group at The LonDownS Project by emailing downsyndrome@ucl.ac.uk