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New anti-cancer drug ignites hope for Progeria patients

Mar 30, 2015 08:38 AM IST India India

Mumbai: The Scientists in Boston have found that an anti-cancer drug can reverse the ageing process. The drug, currently in trials is the only ray of hope for the 80 children in the world living with Progeria, a rare genetic disease which accelerates ageing.

15-year-old Nihaal is among the 80 children in the world born with Progeria, an incurable genetic disorder that makes him age 10 times faster than the rest of us.

Nihal's father Srinivasan said, "He was around 2 months when we noticed rashes on his body and some freckles on his skin. We assumed its a skin disease."

Scientists at the Progeria Research Foundation in Boston have engineered an anti cancer drug which can slow down ageing.

Lonafarnib, a clinical drug, is being investigated in a human clinical trial as a potential treatment for for this disease. Nihaal is one of the 40 children from 20 countries to have participated in this clinical trial.

IIRH, Gene Scientist, Dr Parag Tahmankar explained how the drug works at the cell level, he said, "The weight gain is there in more than 50% of its patients. The vessel problem almost normalises to a 10-year-old child."

The average lifespan of children with Progeria is 13 years. Nihaal turned 15 in January and he was ranked as one of the healthiest children with this disease at the Boston trials.