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FDA might fast-track drug to help 9-year-old battle disease

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — It could be a victory for a Colorado third-grader and his family. The Food and Drug Administration might grant faster approval of a drug that could save 9-year-old Ryan Dunne’s life.

The community and Colorado lawmakers came together to help gather more than 100,000 signatures to pressure the FDA to approve a drug to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The disease is attacking Ryan’s body, preventing him from standing on his own. There is no cure.

Students and members of the community rallied to help the family get the signatures on a White House petition. Ryan’s father says time is the most important factor.

“Sixteen months ago, Ryan was walking up and down stairs. Now I have to carry him,” said Chris Dunne, Ryan’s father. “We are at the point now, Ryan could be one of the last kids to die from this disease or one of the first kids to survive it.

“We don`t have time. Every day that goes by, my son gets weaker.”

The drug company Sarepta says fast tracking it through the FDA could mean it would be available to kids who have Duchenne muscular dystrophy by 2015. Families across the nation and the world are hoping for that to happen.

If it does, Ryan’s generation could be the first to outlive the disease.