Medicine: A Lab for Orphans

Seeking cures for neglected diseases

Like other biomedical research facilities, it experiments with rodents of all sorts, is filled with glassware of every shape and size, and has the latest scientific gadgetry. Yet there is something special about this particular lab at New York's Rockefeller University. For the past decade, its doctors, chemists and biologists have been engaged, largely unheralded, in an unusual task. They are fighting what they call "orphan diseases," a group of widely differing illnesses that have one thing in common: no one has done very much to develop drugs for...

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