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Fixing Every Muscle

March-April 2011

The article “Mother Courage: A family tragedy and a scientific crusade,” by John Colapinto, in the December 20, 2010, issue of the New Yorker ( 101220fa_fact_colapinto), describes Patricia Furlong’s efforts to raise public awareness of muscular dystrophy, and funding for research, and covers the trials of drugs designed to fight the disease. Both her sons were diagnosed with, and later died from, DMD. A cure is probably decades away. As Lee Sweeney, scientific advisor to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the foundation Furlong created, told Colapinto, “It’s not just fixing one muscle. It’s fixing every muscle in the body. That’s the problem. Getting the cells to the right place and then getting them to do the right thing—it’s a daunting engineering problem as much as anything else.”