Industrializing Individual Therapies for People with Rare Conditions

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It began as a Facebook post for someone looking for help getting a child with a rare neurological condition whole genome sequencing. It resulted, though, in groundbreaking work by Timothy Yu, a neurologist and attending physician in the Division of Genetics and Genomics at Boston Children’s Hospital to develop a custom antisense oligonucleotide therapy for the little girl, who had a rare form of the neurodegenerative condition Batten disease. The work to design and deliver an antisense therapy in under a year has excited the rare disease community for the potential of individualized therapy that address the underlying genetic mechanisms of rare diseases. We spoke to Yu about his work, the potential to industrialize the creation and delivery of individualized therapies for rare disease patients, and the challenges that need to be addressed.

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