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Rare, But in the Family

A pair of New York parents is raising money for research into the rare genetic disease affecting their sons, ABC News reports.

Gary and Jennie Landsman tell ABC News that they first became concerned about their older son when he was about six months old and wasn't reaching certain development benchmarks, such as being able to sit by himself. The couple eventually learned their son has Canavan disease, a rare genetic degenerative disease for which there is no cure. By that time, the Landsmans had had a second son and he, too, has Canavan disease.

Canavan disease affects the ability of neurons in the brain to send and receive signals and affected infants show difficulty at a few months of age with motor skill development, according to the National Institutes of Health. While the condition is rare, it is slightly more common among people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, it adds.

Jennie Landsman tells ABC News that she underwent genetic testing when her first son was born and nothing was uncovered, but that was seven years ago now and ABC News notes testing has expanded rapidly in recent years. It adds that the Landsmans have started a GoFundMe campaign for research into a gene therapy for the condition affecting their boys.