March 2011- Balance is a tricky thing. Here at the IGM we have researchers who are rearing to find the next answer, the next treatment, or the next genetic challenge to unravel. And we have patients who are eager for their next appointment, or a cure for their condition. Yet for many conditions, a cure may not be possible and what we aim for instead is management—managing quality of life, managing the symptoms, managing balance.
Every day we balance our desire to cure, save, answer and heal with the unpredictability of research, of science, of the possibility that understanding biology may not always lead to a cure, a treatment, a clear cut answer. And just as often we see patients who may not want to know why, they only want to know how to live their lives. This doesn’t stop the science or our curiosity, by any means, but it can be difficult to appreciate when the drive to know is so strong. Not too many Ph.D. researchers go out and visit patients afflicted with diseases they study. Roger Reeves, who studies Down Syndrome in mice, does. It helps him find balance.
Read on. And as always, I welcome your feedback.
David Valle, M.D.
Henry J. Knott Professor and Director
McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine