The cause of cleft lip and cleft palate has been linked to dozens of genes, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis were recently surprised to find that cleft palate occurs both when one gene is more active — and also when it is less active than normal.
The findings suggests that this gene is central to palate development — and both the gene, and the processes closely associated with it –could become important targets for investigators working on nonsurgical treatments to prevent cleft palate before birth.
Children with cleft lip and palate can have difficulty feeding as infants. They also can have speech, dental and hearing problems as they get older. Clefts of the lip and palate affect about one in 700 newborns worldwide, and surgical repair in the United States can require several operations over many years with costs estimated to be as much as $100,000 per patient by the Washington University team.
Recently, Rolando and Khonnie Gumler told their story through words and pictures- what it was like to learn that their son, Noah, would be born with a cleft palate, and how they sought treatment for him.
Watch their journey unfold in the RAK video below: