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SAN DIEGO — Young men with the devastating rare cardiac condition known as Danon disease have only one, hardly ideal, way to stay alive as their disease progresses: a heart transplant.

But before he got the transplant that saved his life, a Pennsylvania teenager named Suraj Iyer gave some of his skin cells to a lab here at the University of California, San Diego — a contribution that’s become key in the quest to find better treatment options.


It’s just one example of how, in preclinical labs all over the country, a special type of stem cell derived from adult tissue is making possible research on rare diseases that might otherwise be considered too difficult to study — and offering insight into more common conditions along the way.

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