The Hereditary Disease Foundation (HDF) aims to cure genetic illness by supporting basic biomedical research. The HDF was started by Dr. Milton Wexler in 1968 when his wife was diagnosed with Huntington's disease (HD). The Foundation uses a variety of strategies - workshops, grants, fellowships, and targeted research contracts - to solve the mysteries of genetic disease and develop new treatments and cures.
The Hereditary Disease Foundation played a key role in the discovery of the HD gene, which was localized in 1983 and isolated in 1993. The HDF recruited and supported more than 100 scientists worldwide who worked together as the Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group in a ten-year search to capture the gene. The New York Times called the quest for the HD gene "legendary in less than a decade"; the gene, itself, the most "coveted treasure in molecular biology."
New technologies developed during the HD gene search - supported by the Hereditary Disease Foundation - have been widely used in mapping genes for other disorders including cystic fibrosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease and mental illness. These successes helped to launch the Human Genome Project.more » « less