May 28, 2009
In March of 2008, we followed a team of doctors and surgeons to a remote Mayan village in Guatemala to investigate one of the most bizarre disease clusters in the world.
The disease is called XP, or Xeroderma Pigmentosum. People born with XP develop dramatic and invasive skin cancers when exposed to any amount of sunlight. The medical team we followed went to Guatemala to save the kid’s lives. But they also had bigger aspirations - they hoped to learn something from this unusual genetic abnormality that could apply to us all. They wanted to find out if a resilient group of Mayan kids in a jungle in Guatemala with a mystery hidden in their DNA could somehow hold the keys to solving skin cancer - the most common cancer in the world.