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When Sammy Basso was diagnosed with progeria at 2, it seemed likely that the disease’s hyper-accelerated aging would kill him before he graduated high school.

“There was nothing. Nothing. No cure, of course, no treatments, no information. It was catastrophic,” said Basso, spokesperson for the Progeria Research Foundation, at STAT’s Breakthrough Science Summit on Wednesday. “Nobody could believe that we will be able to arrive at this point. But here we are.”


What he meant was that the last two decades have seen a dramatic surge in scientists’ understanding of progeria. It has brought not only an approved drug for the disease — one that’s helped Basso live to 25 — but also a potential cure, which has so far worked in mice, and for which researchers hope to start clinical trials soon.

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