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At the start of his Newsmaker Briefing at Health Journalism 2011, Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health, told a tale of discovery. The tale began with an observation made in one HIV-positive person who was cured of the virus following a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. The tale continued with the discovery that a rare gene variant may protect people from AIDS and ended with a small trial of HIV-infected people in Philadelphia using discoveries stemming from that research.
The story underscored Collins's desire for research efforts that bring together an assortment of approaches to help understand health and disease. Knowing the molecular basis for disease offers the greatest potential for therapeutics, he said.
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