In The Field

A chilling end to SDB 2008

Harry Eastlack looked like any other baby when he was born in Philadelphia in 1933, save for an inward-turned big toe, but at age ten, he developed a swelling and stiffness in his neck and back. The group of Philadelphia doctors that treated Harry would soon discover that the soft tissues of his body including muscles and cartilage were slowly, painfully transforming into bone, twisting and fusing the young man’s body until his death at age 40. His plight is known as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), and it’s caused by an autosomal dominant mutation, usually arising de novo in 2 out of every million people. In the last talk at the 2008 Society for Developmental Biology meeting in Philadelphia, Eileen Shore from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine talked about her work from bedside to bench with children with FOP. 


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