ctccoverMISSION This story of a father's search to find a diagnosis, and ultimately a cure, for his son's mystery disease is an inspiration that has set the world of medicine abuzz with the possibilities for the future.

When Stephen Damiani teamed up with scientist Ryan Taft in a desperate attempt to discover the cause of his son's illness, they seemed an unlikely duo, but both men knew a child's life was at stake. Without any medical training Stephen taught himself the basics of genomics by reading scientific publications from the internet. He held the unwavering belief that aligning the genomes - or DNA blueprints - of himself, his wife as well as his son, would find the unique variation causing Massimo's illness. It was a case of technology, statistics, data and money, but it could be done.

Ryan was able to isolate Massimo's specific genetic mutation in a gene not previously associated with human disease. But they couldn't prove it was causing the illness with only one patient. Collaborating with a team across three continents, they were able to find other children with the same mutations, demonstrating not only that Massimo's diagnosis was correct but that they had discovered a disease completely new to medicine.

Meanwhile, Stephen and Sally went to extraordinary lengths to provide siblings for Massimo before it was too late, ultimately adding twin boys to their already frenetic household.

Cracking the Code is simultaneously a wonderful family memoir and the story of some world-first breakthroughs in medical science.
Mission Massimo Edition

Purchase your copy of Cracking the Code hand signed by Commander Massimo "Mo" Damiani.

All orders include international shipping and a signature Mission Massimo Remove Before Flight keyring.
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Proceeds from the sale of Cracking the Code will be donated to the Mission Massimo Foundation to promote the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood leukodystrophies.
J. Craig Venter - Ph.D.
Founder, Chairman and CEO
J. Craig Venter Institute
San Diego, United States
"This compelling story about Massimo Damiani is clear proof that knowledge is power. In this case the knowledge was derived from reading Massimo's genome to reveal a rare genetic change that was responsible for his physical regression and gradual loss of function. It is a story told by Massimo's extraordinary parents and their family doctor on how they pushed beyond the limits of medical practice after a year with no progress into the new world of genomics that allows us to read and understand our genetic software at a level not thought possible by most even a short while ago. With our new computational power and instrumentation what was done for Massimo can now be the very first step in medicine not the last. A great story about a very lucky boy with great parents who pushed the boundaries of medical discovery."
Eric J. Topol - M.D.
Professor of Genomics
The Scripps Research Institute
San Diego, United States
"In Cracking the Code, the Damiani family tell the remarkable, gripping story of their son, afflicted with a rare disease, in which they took charge. This is medicine of the future, when each individual and family has access to the critical information—and the power to improve their course of health."
Sir Gustav Nossal - AC, CBE
Professor Emeritus
The University of Melbourne
Melbourne, Australia
"Cracking the Code is a testament to parental love, soaring ambition, relentless persistence and unquenchable hope. The fortunate combination of a gifted amateur and a young specialist DNA scientist solved the secret of a previously unclassified serious genetic disorder. Possible treatment beckons and gene therapy springs up as a more distant dream. The book is both an inspiration and a jolly good yarn."
Norman Swan - M.D.
Health Report
ABC Radio National
Sydney, Australia
"The Damiani family's story has been described as a breathtaking example of how medicine can be transformed by the determination of ordinary people. Four years ago, Stephen and Sally Damiani's baby son Massimo succumbed to a mystery disease. In the space of a few weeks, the toddler lost the ability to eat and crawl. The prognosis was bleak and the cause mystifying. Stephen Damiani, who has a background in construction economics and risk management, teamed up with a young geneticist to map the family's genome in an attempt to discover the cause of his son's illness. In the process, his seemingly impossible quest for answers has made a discovery that's astonished the international medical community and has implications for us all."
Ryan Taft - Ph.D.
Director of Scientific Research Illumina Inc.
San Diego, United States
"We have come to call this the Massimo Effect. The direct knock-on effect of Massimo was the diagnosis of more than 100 children in less than two years, with an incredible range of illnesses, from epilepsy to cognitive brain disorders. We have also identified some new disease-causing genes we never knew existed."