Since awarding our first research grant in 1999, world-class scientists have been leading Progeria research to novel breakthroughs and treatments that help children with Progeria live longer, healthier lives.
PRF is planting the seeds of research in the most cutting-edge areas of science.
Meet Our Researchers
Q&A with Giovanna Lattanzi, PhD, a molecular geneticist in Bologna, Italy.
We are thrilled to feature one of PRF’s dedicated researchers, Giovanna Lattanzi, PhD, a molecular geneticist in Bologna, Italy. We asked Giovanna a few questions about the research she does and what it means to her. Here’s what she said:
PRF: What led you to be interested in Progeria research?
Giovanna: My interest in Progeria research started in 2003, as soon as the LMNA mutation was linked to HGPS. I was already involved in LMNA research, studying several LMNA linked diseases that had been discovered from 1999 to 2002.
PRF: How is your work in Progeria research going?
Giovanna: Working in Progeria is exciting, as you see that each aspect of Progeria pathogenesis is linked to fundamental processes of our organism. Since we started working on Progeria, we understood many new biological mechanisms linking the mutated protein, lamin A, to cell development, adipose tissue metabolism and aging.
PRF: What are you most excited about with your research progress?
Giovanna: We are now more and more enthusiastic as we recently found that defects in stress response also leading to inflammatory reactions are at the basis of HGPS and, most importantly, can be counteracted by treatment with biological therapeutics.
PRF: What do you want the Progeria community to understand about where your research is headed?
Giovanna: Our research addresses a fundamental aspect of disease, the altered response of cells and tissues to stress, and we think that finding a modulator of stress response can provide an effective treatment. Moreover, we are convinced that, as in many other diseases, a combination of drugs will be necessary for the cure. Finding the right combination requires a great effort of researchers: we and colleagues worldwide are working hard! I wish to thank PRF for their great work with HGPS children and families, for the enthusiasm they share with researchers and for their support to our research.
Q&A with Dr. Catherine Gordon, Endocrinologist and Bone Health Specialist with Boston Children’s Hospital.
Meet Dr. Catherine Gordon, Endocrinologist and Bone Health Specialist with Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), who’s been an integral part of the Progeria Clinical Trial team at BCH for almost two decades. We asked her a few questions about her experience working with the children during their clinical trial visits and hope you enjoy reading her responses:
PRF: What led you to be interested in this line of work?
Dr. G.: I had the good fortune of meeting Dr. Leslie Gordon about 20 years ago. I was inspired by her enthusiasm and desire to find a cure for children with Progeria. Leslie has a way of making every team member feel valued and got all of us enthusiastic about our important work in helping to improve the lives of these beautiful children.
PRF: What are you most excited about with these trials?
Dr. G.: It’s been amazing to see the multidisciplinary team that has been assembled, each of us focusing on a different aspect of health, and examining complementary health outcomes in affected children. It was particularly rewarding to be part of the first recognized treatment (now endorsed by FDA) to help prolong the lives of children with Progeria.
PRF: Is there anything you want the Progeria community to understand about the clinical trials?
Dr. G.: While all of us on the BCH team are committed to science that underlies Progeria, we do it ALL for the kids! There is nothing more gratifying than being in clinical research, where we have the ability to weave together scientific principles and concepts and also meet these wonderful children and their families. It “takes a village” to carry out a clinical trial, and each and every team member and their unique role on the team is important.
PRF: Would you like to add anything else?
Dr. G.: I appreciate the support of PRF in cheering us on and providing the vital funds that make our now long-term work possible.