Notes from Germany, Day Two

By Laura Edwards
Mom sent me her latest update around 2 a.m. her time after her very full first day in Germany. She talked with several families, including one “new” one – a father (whose son was diagnosed just a few weeks ago) and his father-in-law. The little boy’s father and I have already been in touch via email. There is another family in Hamburg who, like us, started a new non-profit organization to fight the disease, and yet another father whose son, like Taylor, was in the Portland trial.
I accompanied Mom to the last NCL Congress when it was in Rochester, NY, two years ago. It is a very high-level, very technical conference. Few families attend, because the presentations are clearly geared toward experts. I think I finally began to truly understand how much our lives had changed forever when I, an English major, sat with my mom, a music major, in a hotel banquet hall far from home, listening to a scientist from Washington University School of Medicine discuss the systemic and metabolic abnormalities associated with infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (INCL).
That’s part of the battle, though. And thanks to BDSRA and Google and the birth and continued development of Taylor’s Tale and the reality of living with this disease each and every day, we understand so much more than we did two years ago. And we are not the only ones whose understanding is developing, becoming fuller, stronger. Progress is being made.
Dr. Sandy Hofmann, whose INCL project Taylor’s Tale has funded (through BDSRA) since that same summer of 2007, was on the schedule today and announced that she is ready for preclinical testing. That’s exciting news! Mom caught up with her briefly afterward and planned to talk with her in more detail later, so I hope to share more insight into this next phase – and how we can help make it happen – in tomorrow night’s post.
Dr. Robert Steiner, lead investigator for the historic trial of which Taylor was the sixth and final participant, arrived in Hamburg today. Results from the Phase I trial will be presented on Saturday – a moment I know my mom both craves and fears, if only for the reason that it is so intensely personal for us.
Tomorrow’s program includes topics such as “A Study of CLN3 Function in Mouse Brain Endothelial Cells” and “Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration in Late Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis CLN6.” The music major will be there.
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