An International Business Times report details the story of siblings from Australia who are participating in a study on fatal familial insomnia.

Deprived of sleep for days or months together could eventually lead to death, which is what happened to Lachlan and Hayley Webb’s grandmother and her three children.

Hayley, 30, a Channel Nine News reporter, and her brother, 28, lost their grandmother when they were in their teens. She succumbed to Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI), a rare hereditary disease that does not let the sufferer get deep sleep, leading to accelerated mental and physical deterioration.

The siblings from Queensland, Australia, lost their mother to the incurable disease, who died at the age of 61. The disease killed their maternal aunt at the age of 42 and their maternal uncle at the young age of 20.

Bearing the sleeping curse in their blood, the anxious siblings have been participating in a pioneering study at the University of California to find a cure for the disease, The Independent reported, citing Nine News. Eric Minikel and Sonia Vallabah are leading the study.

Hayley reportedly said during an interview on Channel Nine’s “60 Minutes” show that their family became aware of the rare disease when their grandmother was first diagnosed with FFI.

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