Synopses & Reviews
"A riveting scientific detective story" (The Washington Post) by two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who chronicle a young Wisconsin boy with a never-before-seen disease and the doctors who save his life by taking a new step into the future of medicine.
In this landmark medical narrative, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher share the story of Nic Volker, the first patient to be saved by a bold breakthrough in medicine--a complete gene sequencing, aimed at finding the cause of an otherwise undiagnosable illness. At just two years old, Nic experienced a brief flicker of pain that signaled the awakening of a new and deadly disease, one that would hurl him and his family into a harrowing journey in search for a lifesaving cure. After his symptoms stump every practitioner, it becomes clear that Nic's is a one in a billion case, a disease that no one has ever seen before.
As Nic and his family search for answers, the scientific community is racing to bring about the next revolution in medicine--translating results from the Human Genome Project to treatments for actual patients. At the forefront is the brilliant geneticist Howard Jacob, who starts a lab at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Then Nic's head physician reaches out to Jacob with an unprecedented of idea. A disease like Nic's is likely due to a rare mutation: if they could sequence his genes to try to find the mutation, the boy might live. Jacob doesn't know if he can do it; Nic's doctors don't know if it will even work; and no one knows what else might lie in the Pandora's Box of Nic's genome. But they decide to try--and in doing so, they step into a new era of medicine.
One in a Billion is "a compelling story of a modern medical miracle--the first instance of personalized medicine" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and the birth of a scientific revolution.