David's Victory; June 1993; Scientific American Magazine; by John Rennie; 2 Page(s)
Severe combined immunodeficiency(SCID) is its name, but most people think of it as :bubble boy" disease. Born without an immune system, a Texas child known publicly only as David was mortally vulnerable to even the mildest infection. He spent all 12 years of his short life inside protective sterile rooms and a miniature space suit. David died nine years ago, leaving behind many mourners and cultures of his cells that have been nurtured by SCID researchers.
Now, working with DNA from those cells, a team of investigators led by Warren J. Leonard of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has discovered a common genetic cause of SCID. The work holds the promise of better diagnostic tests and treatments for the rare disorder; it also seems likely to help piece together more general puzzles about the genesis of the cells of the immune system.