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REF NO.: 149

SUBJECT: Wesleyville boy raises money for research on familial pulmonary fibrosis
DATE: Jan. 12, 2006

Note to editors:

Media representatives are invited to attend the presentation of a $700 donation for genetic research on Friday, Jan. 13, at 2:30 p.m. in the main foyer of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre in the Health Sciences Centre.

Myles Burry, an 11-year old boy from Wesleyville, Bonavista Bay, will travel to St. John’s tomorrow with his parents to donate $700 for genetic research on pulmonary fibrosis at Memorial University. The cheque will be accepted by Dr. Bridget Fernandez, a faculty member in the Discipline of Genetics and director of the provincial medical genetics program.

Myles raised the money by selling Christmas cards he designed. He wanted to raise money for this research because his family is part of an ongoing study on familial pulmonary fibrosis. While Myles doesn’t have the illness himself, his aunt does and an uncle in his family died of the disease.

Dr. Fernandez is doing leading-edge genetic research on pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that isn’t strongly genetic in most populations. Working with a local team of respirologists, radiologists, pathologists and laboratory scientists, she has identified 14 Newfoundland families with the (familial) inherited type of pulmonary fibrosis. There are 316 people enrolled in the study and 48 individuals from the 14 families have the disease.

Dr. Fernandez’ group is working to identify this gene in the hope that discovering its role in lung physiology will eventually lead to more effective therapy.

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