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.
Huntington's disease is a fatal, dominantly inherited, genetic, neurological disorder causing involuntary movements, severe emotional disturbance and progressive cognitive loss over ten to twenty years. Each child of an affected parent has a 50% risk of inheriting HD, usually in the third or fourth decade of life, though children as young as two years and adults in their eighties may also develop symptoms.
The Hereditary Disease Foundation uses Huntington's disease as a model for hereditary disease research because it is triggered by a mutation of one single gene.