Preventing Down Syndrome

Posted at: 07/18/2013 10:44 PM
Updated at: 07/18/2013 10:47 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A new study done by the University of Massachusetts may have found a way to prevent Down Syndrome through "chromosome therapy."

In a series of experiments, US researchers took cells from people with Down Syndrome and silenced the extra chromosome that causes the condition.

Parents Kevin and Alexandra Morrissey are members of the Down Syndrome Association. They joined, because of their daughter Sammy. "You're awesome just the way you are!" said mother Alexandra to her 8 year-old daughter.

When hearing about this “breakthrough” study that could possibly, someday, prevent Down Syndrome before birth, they had mixed feelings.

"If I could wave a magic wand and take away the challenges for Sammy in her life, like some of the academic things, I would do that in a heartbeat, but not at the cost of losing Sammy," said Alexandra.

"Like as Alex said, not at the cost of who she is," said Kevin.

To them, Sammy is just like the rest of their kids. "It's not nearly as scary or challenging as it would seem from the outside looking in," said Alexandra.

Even at a young age, Sammy has the courage to stand up to life's challenges. "I think one of her best traits is that she never gives up," said Alexandra.

However, they are aware some things may not be as easy for her, which is why they support continued research. "It's really exciting to hear about that,” said Alexandra.

"You want your kids to reach their highest potential, if there's medicine that can be a part of that solution, then it’s worth researching," said Kevin.

The research also suggests this may help children and adults who already have Down Syndrome. If you're interested in learning more on that study, we've posted a link to that on our website under the links tab.