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Genetics and Stem Cell Research     RSS Feed to our Genetics News

 
 

Myelin Repair for Nerve Damage and Paralysis with Spinal Cord Stem Cell Transplants

Myelin Repair for Nerve Damage and Paralysis with Spinal Cord Stem Cell Transplants

Health

A study from the University of California Irvine along with colleagues at the Reeve-Irvine Research Center shows that using stem cells to repair spinal cord injuries and damage do not cause further damage.  The research was first reported in the current issue of Regenerative Medicine.

“Establishing the safety of implanted embryonic stem cells is crucial before we can move forward with testing these treatments in clinical trials,” said Hans Keirstead, an associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology and co-director of UCI’s Stem Cell Research Center. “We must always remember that a human clinical trial is an experiment and, going into it, we need to assure ourselves as best as we can that the treatment will not cause harm. This study is an important step in that direction.”  Complete Article


Congress Debates Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Program - President Promises to Veto any Funding Measures or Bills

Congress Debates Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Program - President Promises to Veto any Funding Measures or Bills

Embryonic Stem Cell

Congress will be debating embryonic stem cell research this week, while the President has threatened to use his veto power for the first time if a funding measure is passed.  Even though polls show 70 percent of Americans support embryonic stem cell research, the President banned the use of federal funding back in 2001.

Many involved in the research say there is a potential to cure many diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  Recent research even indicates that embryonic stem cells could be used to heal paralyzed patients.

Stem cells are the bodies “master cells”, and are the source of all cells and tissues. They come from a ball of cells known as a blastocyst which develops five to seven days after conception.  The adult stems cells found in children and adults are less flexible in what they can become, thus making them much less useful.  The federal government has still been funding adult stem cell research.  Complete Article


Heart Failure Patients Could Benefit From Genetic Test - Beta Blockers Work In Some Patients Only - May Determine Best Treatment

Heart Failure Patients Could Benefit From Genetic Test - Beta Blockers Work In Some Patients Only - May Determine Best Treatment

Genetics

Scientists believe they can genetically test patients suffering from heart failure to determine which ones will benefit from beta-blockers.  Maryland researchers have identified a common genetic variation that could help determine whether a person with heart failure would benefit from the common drug. 

The study, involving 1040 heart failure patients over a four year period, compared beta-blocker to a placebo and found a 38 percent reduction in the death rate among patients who took the beta-blocker and who also had two copies of a genetic variant called arginine (Arg-389).  They also found that 34 percent of these patients had a reduction in the combined number of hospitalizations and deaths.  Complete Article


AIDS - Possible to Manufacture T-cells From Embryonic Stem Cells - UCLA Scientists Say Gene Therapy May Be Used To Fight HIV

AIDS - Possible to Manufacture T-cells From Embryonic Stem Cells - UCLA Scientists Say Gene Therapy May Be Used To Fight HIV

T-cells

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have been able “coax” stem cells into becoming T-cells.  T-cells are a type of white blood cell that plays a crucial role in the immune system.

The scientists say that if T-cells could be manufactured this could provide a powerful weapon against AIDS and other immune disorders and diseases.  At the core of their research are the stem cells which have the ability to transform themselves into a variety of cells. 

First the scientists cultured human embryonic stem cells.  These cells were then incubated on mouse bone marrow support cells, which in turn converted them into blood forming cells.  They then injected the cells a human thymus gland that had been implanted into a mouse. 


Possible Treatment for Down's Syndrome Retardation may Involve Interference with Gene - Same Gene might Cause Alzheimer's

Possible Treatment for Down's Syndrome Retardation may Involve Interference with Gene - Same Gene might Cause Alzheimer's

Health

Stanford University researchers believe they may be able to “reverse the cognitive decline” that frequently affects those with Down’s syndrome in middle age.  "We may now have the opportunity to make a big difference in people's lives," according to neurologist William Mobley, MD, PhD. "If we can decrease the expression of this gene we may be able to provide something more than supportive care to people with Down syndrome."

Mobley and his team believe they have found the gene that when overexpressed, causes neurons responsible for attention and memory to shrivel and stop functioning normally.  It may be possible to “interfere” with the gene.

Down’s syndrome is the leading cause of mental retardation in the United States.  There are more than 300,000 people nationwide have Down syndrome, which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21, giving them a total of three.  Up until now, there has been little molecular or Neurological research done on the subject.


Cystic Fibrosis – RNA interference used to silence Protein and correcting Chloride Transport Errors

Cystic Fibrosis – RNA interference used to silence Protein and correcting Chloride Transport Errors

Health

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes the body to ineffectively move chloride in and out of cells.  Researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center have been able to isolate the overactive protein that causes the transport problem.  They further developed an RNA inference to silence the overproduced protein which made the cells return to normal.  These are preliminary studies and it would take years to develop a treatment for people.  The report was first published in the June 23rd issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.  Cystic Fibrosis – RNA interference used to silence Protein and correcting Chloride Transport Errors


DNA Vaccine Developed For Alzheimer's Disease - Japanese Researchers Say Genetic Based Vaccine Could Reverse Plaque Buildup in Brain

DNA Vaccine Developed For Alzheimer's Disease - Japanese Researchers Say Genetic Based Vaccine Could Reverse Plaque Buildup in Brain

Health

Japanese researchers say that they have promising new results with mice studies that may benefit Alzheimer’s disease patients.  They have been able to cut levels of key amyloid proteins thought to cause the disease, by up to 50% in some parts of the brain by using a DNA vaccine.

The over-production of amyloid proteins are thought to trigger symptoms of Alzheimer's by forming clumps that litter the brain, according to the BBC.  Previous research has shown that it is possible to stimulate the immune system of mice to attack these plaques, if they are immunized with amyloid protein.  But when this was done in humans the immune response was so great that the brain began to swell. The clinical trial for a vaccine had to be called off in 2003 after 18 of the 298 patients developed swelling in their brains.  DNA Vaccine Developed For Alzheimer's Disease - Japanese Researchers Say Genetic Based Vaccine Could Reverse Plaque Buildup in Brain


Harvard Begins Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research - University Will Use Private Funds to Bypass Funding Ban on Cloning - Diabetes Leukemia

Harvard Begins Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research - University Will Use Private Funds to Bypass Funding Ban on Cloning

Daley - Melton - Eggan

Researchers from Harvard University have begun experiments using Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) to create disease-specific stem cell lines.  It is hoped this research will be useful in developing treatments for a wide range of now-incurable conditions afflicting tens of millions of people.

The school believes this is the first noncommercial effort in the United States to use human embryonic stem cells in a series of experiments whose principle has already been proven in animals.  It is hoped that the research will lead to treatments or cures for blood diseases like leukemia and possibly diabetes.  Harvard Begins Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research - University Will Use Private Funds to Bypass Funding Ban on Cloning - Diabetes Leukemia


Reverse Aging - Lamin A Protein May Hold Key To Fountain of Youth - Anti-Aging Treatment May Stem From Lamin-A Research into HGPS

Reverse Aging - Lamin A Protein May Hold Key To Fountain of Youth - Anti-Aging Treatment May Stem From Lamin-A Research into HGPS

Lamin A Structure

Since Ponce de Leon, we have been looking for the fountain of youth, but now researchers may have found it in the protein lamin.  When people grow old, the walls of the nuclei lose their their perkiness and round shape.  The cells become wrinkled and weak. 

The weakened cell membrane allows damaging agents to get inside the nucleus to the cell’s DNA.  Studies have shown that these agents can cause mutations which lead to physical aging. NCI researchers Paola Scaffidi, PhD, and Tom Misteli, PhD, while studying the cause of  Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, were able to “reverse” the abnormalities seen in cells by correcting the defects associated with the protein lamin-A.

The study, which appears in the March 6 2005 Nature Medicine, examined the disease called Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS). HGPS is an extremely rare genetic disease that accelerates the aging process to about seven times the normal rate.  Reverse Aging - Lamin A Protein May Hold Key To Fountain of Youth - Anti-Aging Treatment May Stem From Lamin-A Research into HGPS


New Parkinson's Disease Research - Compare Genetic Cases with Environmental - Symptoms and Treatments With Drugs

New Parkinson's Disease Research - Compare Genetic Cases with Environmental - Symptoms and Treatments With Drugs

Health

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic compared patients with Parkinson’s disease which stems from genetic causes with patients who have no known cause.  These cases that have no known genetic cause make up 98% of all Parkinson’s cases.  They label these cases “sporadic”.  Parkinson’s disease affects approximately 1 million Americans causing tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement and instability. 

They found that the disease affects men twice as often as women.  The researchers speculate that this may be because women have a “protective effect” or mechanism.  For example, the hormone estrogen may act to protect women.     

It has been thought that Parkinson’s may be caused by environmental exposure to pesticides or chemicals, but researchers have also found six genetic mutations responsible for causing Parkinson's disease in about 2 percent of all cases.  New Parkinson's Disease Research - Compare Genetic Cases with Environmental - Symptoms and Treatments With Drugs 


Spinal Cord Injuries Repaired By New Type of Stem Cells - GDA ( Glial Precursor Derived Astrocytes) Work Better The Regular Stem Cells 

Spinal Cord Injuries Repaired By New Type of Stem Cells - GDA ( Glial Precursor Derived Astrocytes) Work Better The Regular Stem Cells

Stem Cells

Researchers have found that transplanting a certain type of immature support cell from the central nervous system could regenerate more than 60% of the nerves that are damaged after a spinal cord injury.  Amazingly, two thirds of the nerve fibers grew all the way through the injury sites eight days later.

This is more promising than previous research, according to the University of Rochester researchers in New York.  Rats that received the cell transplants also walked normally after two weeks. 

Researchers from the Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y., in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, focused on a new cell type that appears to have the capability of repairing the adult nervous system.  Spinal Cord Injuries Repaired By New Type of Stem Cells - GDA ( Glial Precursor Derived Astrocytes) Work Better The Regular Stem Cells 


How Does My DNA Work?  Evolution Vs. Intelligent Design - Creationism

How Does My DNA Work?  Evolution Vs. Intelligent Design - Creationism

DNA

The subject of DNA is very much in the headlines and news but very few have bothered to learn or understand just how this amazing molecule works and how it makes us what we are from head to toe.

Haven't you ever asked yourself how you got your nose, eyes, ears, fingers, toes, and everything else? How did your DNA bring all this about? Before we answer that question we need to know just a few simple things about DNA.

DNA is the abbreviated name for the genetic code and it is exactly that - a code. It is a molecular string of chemical information.

DNA is located in the nucleus of our cells and is made up of smaller molecules called nucleic acids. These smaller molecules in DNA are arranged in a sequence, just like the letters in a sentence. The sequence of these nucleic acids tell the cells in our body how to build our nose, eyes, hands, feet, and everything else.  How Does My DNA Work?  Evolution Vs. Intelligent Design - Creationism


Colon Cancer – DNA gets ‘switched off’ and allows Tumor Growth

Colon Cancer – DNA gets ‘switched off’ and allows Tumor Growth

DNA

Researchers from Sydney’s Garvan Institute along with a collaborative effort with Spanish scientists have led to new understanding how cancer cells take over and tumors grow.  They discovered in the process of colon cancer that large areas of DNA are turned off allowing for the growth of tumors.  The study was first reported in the Nature Genetics, April 23rd edition.

The lead researcher Sue Clark, who is an Associate Professor at the Garvan Institute said, "These large regions – referred to as suburbs – contain genes that normally function to prevent the development of tumours."  Colon Cancer – DNA gets ‘switched off’ and allows Tumor Growth


Heart Attacks – Patients that suffered from Heart Attack Damage used Stem Cells to Repair the Heart Muscle

Heart Attacks – Patients that suffered from Heart Attack Damage used Stem Cells to Repair the Heart Muscle

Rush University

A recent study transplanted stem cells to see if the heart muscle would regenerate after a patient had a heart attack.  The researchers delivered the adult mesenchymal stem cells that came from a healthy bone marrow donor by intravenous infusion.

This simple approach of using a standard IV line makes it less invasive than other methods of delivering stem cells.  Other procedures of delivering stem cells involved open surgical procedures through catheterization. 

"A person who has had a single, severe heart attack may survive but can be left with substantial damage to the heart muscle as a result of the blood supply to the heart muscle being cut off during the heart attack. The damaged muscle inhibits the heart's overall ability to pump blood, leading to heart failure," said Rush principal investigator cardiologist Dr. Gary Schaer, head of the Rush Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. Rush is the only center in Illinois participating in the trial. There are 15 other sites nationwide participating in the study.  Heart Attacks – Patients that suffered from Heart Attack Damage used Stem Cells to Repair the Heart Muscle


High Blood Pressure and Renal Disease – Possible New Approach to treating Hypertension and avoiding Kidney Damage

High Blood Pressure and Renal Disease – Possible New Approach to treating Hypertension and avoiding Kidney Damage

Blood Pressure Monitor

Researchers from the University of Florida tested gene therapy by using RNA interference for treatment of high blood pressure.  They were able to stop the high blood pressure from increasing in mice and also were able to prevent kidney damage.  The study was first reported in the online journal called Gene Therapy.

A corrective gene was injected into mice that were exposed to cold weather.  The treated mice had blood pressure that did not get worst and their kidney had almost no damage.  The cold weather caused the mice to have constricted blood vessels.  By constricting the blood flow the kidneys would be overloaded with hormones that could cause damage.

Cold weather can increase blood pressure and more heart attacks and strokes happen during the cold winter months.  That is why they studied 3 different groups of mice that were kept in an environment of 44 degree Fahrenheit for a total of five weeks.  They measured the blood pressure of the mice for a 3 week period of time.  High Blood Pressure and Renal Disease – Possible New Approach to treating Hypertension and avoiding Kidney Damage


Doctors Able to Grow Bladders in Labs and Transplant Using Patients Own Cells - Other Engineered Organs Expected in Future - No Rejection

Doctors Able to Grow Bladders in Labs and Transplant Using Patients Own Cells - Other Engineered Organs Expected in Future - No Rejection

Kidneys and Bladder

Wake Forest University School of Medicine scientists have made a breakthrough in medicine by actually growing bladders.  Other organs are expected soon, and since the organs are grown from the patients own cells, there is no risk of rejection.  Organ rejection has been a problem with traditional transplants.

According to The British Journal, Lance, seven children and teenagers have received bladders grown from their own cells.  Some of the patients have been followed for more than seven years with no problems.  In fact, the bladders have shown an improved “function” over time. 

The children, ages 4 to 19, had poor bladder function because of congenital birth defects.  This defect caused an incomplete closure of the spine.  According to the journal, their bladders were not pliable and the high pressures could be transmitted to their kidneys, possibly leading to kidney damage. They had urinary leakage, as frequently as every 30 minutes.  Doctors Able to Grow Bladders in Labs and Transplant Using Patients Own Cells - Other Engineered Organs Expected in Future - No Rejection


Cells Found in Adult Males Have Same Properties As Embryonic Stem Cells -  Sperm Producing Cells From Testicles Work The Same -Researchers From Germany Say

Cells Found in Adult Males Have Same Properties As Embryonic Stem Cells -  Sperm Producing Cells From Testicles Work The Same -Researchers From Germany Say

Embryonic Stem Cells
From Mice

Researchers in Germany believe they have isolated stem cells from the testicles of adult mice that appear similar to embryonic stem (ES) cells.  The researchers hope that they can isolate similar cells in male adults that can be used in place of embryonic stem cells.  If these stem cells can be used in place of human embryonic stem cells, it would remove a stumbling block for research into such diseases as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

Stem cells are the body’s building blocks, and embryonic stem cells are the most useful because they have the ability to become any type of cell within the human body.  The researchers believe they could provide an alternative source of stem cells for growing genetically matched cells.  This would likely be more acceptable than using embryos. 

Gerd Hasenfuss and colleagues from the Georg August University of Göttingen are responsible for this research.  They said “This would avoid the technical and ethical difficulties associated with generating cells from human embryos."  Cells Found in Adult Males Have Same Properties As Embryonic Stem Cells -  Sperm Producing Cells From Testicles Work The Same -Researchers From Germany Say


Genetic Testing For Breast and Ovarian Cancers not Sufficient Enough for Recommendations of Invasive Prophylactic Surgeries - Study Shows

Genetic Testing For Breast and Ovarian Cancers not Sufficient Enough for Recommendations of Invasive Prophylactic Surgeries - Study Shows

Genetic Cancer Risks

There are some genetic tests that can be performed to determine the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, but not all cancers are associated with identified gene mutations. According to research by Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, lifetime risks of breast cancer are as high as 80 percent among U.S. women with mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Among white women in the US, mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account of 5 percent to 10 percent of the breast cancer cases.  The risk for young women with these particular inherited gene mutations is increasing.   

There are other gene mutations to look out for.  Inherited mutations in other genes, including CHEK2, TP53 and PTEN, can also influence risk of cancer.  There are some advantages for getting tested early for these and other gene mutations.  Genetic Testing For Breast and Ovarian Cancers not Sufficient Enough for Recommendations of Invasive Prophylactic Surgeries - Study Shows


Gene Found for Eczema - May Lead to Therapies for Cause of Dry Skin - Not just Treatments for Symptoms

Gene Found for Eczema - May Lead to Therapies for Cause of Dry Skin - Not just Treatments for Symptoms

Eczema

Up until now, eczema therapies involved treating the symptoms.  This may change soon due to research led by the University of Dundee in Scotland, where they have discovered the gene which causes dry, scaly skin.  The dry skin can lead to eczema and asthma, according to researchers. 

The gene produces a protein called filaggrin which helps keep the skin protected by forming an outer barrier.  It is hoped that this finding will lead to a therapy of the underlying condition that causes dry skin and eczema.  Most current therapies involve ointments to treat dry skin and anti-inflammatory drugs to treat eczema. 

The filaggrin protein is usually found in the outermost layers of skin.  In people that are not affected by dry skin, this protein is abundant.  The protein also helps form a skin barrier keeping the water in, but in absence allows the skin to dry out. When the skin dries out, it may begin to flake off as well.  Gene Found for Eczema - May Lead to Therapies for Cause of Dry Skin - Not just Treatments for Symptoms 


Sciona DNA Diet Based On Genetic Analysis – May Be Better than Atkins South Beach or Zone Diets - Nutrigenomics May Prevent Disease

Sciona DNA Diet Based On Genetic Analysis – May Be Better than Atkins South Beach or Zone Diets - Nutrigenomics May Prevent Disease

Sciona Logo

There is a new genetic test customers can take at home that may help determine which diet is best for them.  Potential dieters swab the inside of their cheek to collect a DNA sample, fill out a questionnaire, and send them both back to Sciona.  Sciona is a privately held, international company that provides personalized health and nutrition recommendations based on an individual’s diet, lifestyle and unique genetic profile.

The company analyzes 19 genes that affect bone health, heart health, antioxidant and detoxification, insulin resistance, and inflammation.  After the analysis they will recommend dietary changes to counteract the customer’s genetic weaknesses.

Sciona’s Director of Nutrition, Yael Joffe says, “You may eat well, exercise, and take nutritional supplements, but minor variations in your genes can put you at risk."  The Nutrigenetic testing will identify genetic variations which may indicate an individual's risk for developing specific health conditions including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  Sciona DNA Diet Based On Genetic Analysis – May Be Better than Atkins South Beach or Zone Diets - Nutrigenomics May Prevent Disease 


Age Related Macular Degeneration - Genetic link could increase Risk

Age Related Macular Degeneration - Genetics link could increase Risk

Eye

A study conducted at the Columbia University Medical Center found two genes, Factor H and Factor B, may increase the occurrence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 74% of these patients.  There is an estimated 10 million individuals in the United States that have AMD.

The study was first published in Nature Genetics and found that three out of four AMD patients had either one or both of these genes.  This study found that the Factor H gene showed a considerably higher risk for developing AMD.  People that have a variation of the Factor H are not able to control inflammation.  Factor H gene when working properly works by telling a protein to stop an immune response when the infection is gone.  Age Related Macular Degeneration - Genetic link could increase Risk


Embryonic Stem Cell Treatments Show Promise for Degenerative Diseases and Paralysis - Alzheimer's Parkinson's Cancer Heart Disease and More

Embryonic Stem Cell Treatments Show Promise for Degenerative Diseases and Paralysis - Alzheimer's Parkinson's Cancer Heart Disease and More

Embryonic Stem Cells

Stem cell research and treatment may yield extraordinary results for ailments including heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer and diabetes.  Embryonic stem cells also show promise for people that are paralyzed. 

The CBS News program 60 minutes ran a segment on the subject Sunday night.  Ed Bradley’s report included an interview with Dr. Hans Keirstead, a 38-year-old biologist, who said he is ready to try a stem cell procedure on people paralyzed by spinal cord injuries.  The doctor’s earlier trial showed success in treating a laboratory rat whose hind legs were completely paralyzed. 

Amazingly, after injecting the rat with human embryonic stem cells, the paralyzed rat was able to move its hind legs.  Dr. Keirstead told Mr. Bradley that “If it does the same thing in humans, I think we’ve hit something here that’s gonna be truly remarkable."  He hopes to begin clinical trials on patients that have recently been paralyzed first.  Embryonic Stem Cell Treatments Show Promise for Degenerative Diseases and Paralysis - Alzheimer's Parkinson's Cancer Heart Disease and More


Link between Hearing Loss and lower Levels of Aldosterone Hormone

Link between Hearing Loss and lower Levels of Aldosterone Hormone

inner ear

A research project from the International Center for Hearing and Speech Research (ICHSR) measured the amount of aldosterone hormone in aging individuals and found a relationship of lowered hormone levels and hearing loss.

This combined research project came from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology and neuroscientists from the University of Rochester who participate with the ICHSR center.  The funding for this project came from the National Institute on Aging, which is a leader in age related hearing loss research.  The research paper was first published in the November issue of the journal, Hearing Research.  Link between Hearing Loss and lower Levels of Aldosterone Hormone


HIV Subtype Better Predictor of Early Death from AIDS than Viral Load Test

HIV Subtype Better Predictor of Early Death from AIDS than Viral Load Test

AIDS in Africa

Scientists say that HIV subtype is more important than determining the “viral load” as a predictor of early death. Viral load has been the standard method of determining the progress of the disease, but now scientists have begun to investigate HIV subtypes. 

The scientists divided the HIV virus into three group types where D made a person with HIV likely to die more rapidly compared with a person in the A subtype group.  Viral load had little to do with mortality in comparison. According to the John Hopkins study, “Ten percent of those infected with subtype D died within three years, while none with subtype A died. However, viral load ranged from 20,000 particles per cubic milliliter of blood to 100,000 particles per cubic milliliter of blood in those with both subtypes, and was not found to be an accurate predictor of rapid death within the same timeframe.”  HIV Subtype Better Predictor of Early Death from AIDS than Viral Load Test


Parkinson’s disease - LRRK2 Gene mutation Identified

Parkinson’s disease - LRRK2 Gene mutation Identified

Middle East

A group of researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Manhattan hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center have isolated a gene mutation which is a major cause of Parkinson’s disease which among Ashkenazi Jewish patients.

The report will be published in today’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers of this study believe that this will be the first time that a genetic test can help determine the risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.  Before this there was no genetic test to help to determine the risk.  Parkinson’s disease - LRRK2 Gene mutation Identified


New Gene Discovery may lead to Treatment for GBM Brain Cancer

New Gene Discovery may lead to Treatment for GBM Brain Cancer

Dr. Habib

Research published today in the journal Cancer Research describes a gene EGFRvIII that generates a unique pattern of signaling.  This is a distinct gene that that causes a specific brain cancer to grow and multiply.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a cancer of the supportive tissue of the brain and accounts for 60 percent of brain tumors in adults over the age of 50 years.  The team at UT Southwestern Medical Center discovered the cell-signaling mechanism instrumental in the most common brain cancer in adults.

Researchers already knew that tumor cells proliferate out of control by a mechanism characterized by an abnormally high number of copies of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR). New Gene Discovery may lead to Treatment for GBM Brain Cancer


Bipolar Disorder newly discovered FAT gene Doubles Risk

Bipolar Disorder newly discovered FAT gene Doubles Risk

Lithium

Researchers believe they have discovered a gene that doubles the risk for people to develop bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness.

Scientists at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of New South Wales, Syndey, discovered a gene related to bipolar disorder.  There have been other genes discovered in the past; however this discovery has been verified by four different independent study groups in the UK, Australia, and Bulgaria.  Bipolar Disorder newly discovered FAT gene Doubles Risk


Genetics may increase risk for major Depression in Women

Genetics may increase risk for major Depression in Women

Prozac

Virginia Commonwealth University researchers found that genes may increase the risk of women developing depression more than in men.  This genetic factor increases the risk to approximately 42 percent with women and approximately 29 percent in men. 

First reported in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry this study is a large study in twins.  The researchers studied 42,000 twins with 15,000 being complete pairs from the Swedish National Twin Registry.   Genetics may increase risk for major Depression in Women


Breast Cancer Risk Reduced by Consuming Caffeinated Coffee

Breast Cancer Risk Reduced by Consuming Caffeinated Coffee

Benefits of Coffee

Caffeinated Coffee may reduce the risk of breast cancer in women, according to a new Canadian study.  The researchers examined women with a particular type of cancer associated with a specific gene mutation. The research is especially important for women with a family history of breast cancer.   

Looking at women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations the researchers found that women that drank more coffee had less of a risk of developing breast cancer.  According to the CTV Canadian website, Professor Steven A. Narod at the University of Toronto said “"Those women who drank six or more cups of coffee a day on average had about a 75 per cent reduction in the risk of breast cancer."  The women who drank 4 to 5 cups of coffee per day were able to reduce their risk 25% according to Reuters.  Reuters also claims the risk reduction for 6 or more cups per day was 69%.  Breast Cancer Risk Reduced by Consuming Caffeinated Coffee

Gene found to help Stop the Spread of Some Cancers

Gene found to help Stop the Spread of Some Cancers

Double Helix

In a recent article published in January 5th issue of Nature, a study showed that a gene is responsible for stopping the spread of some cancers.

The gene is called caspase 8 and it acts as a check point to make sure that skin cells stay with the skin, organ cells stay with the designated organ.  When a violation of a cell occurs it is the job of the caspase 8 to activate integrins which cause the cell to die off.

Childhood neuroblastoma cancer, show that there is a lack of the caspas 8 gene and is an aggressive cancer that occurs in children around the age of 2 years.  The gene is missing or suppressed in 70 percent of children with aggressive neuroblastomas.  The problem with this type of cancer is that it spreads throughout the body quickly and it hard to treat once it is diagnosed.  Gene found to help Stop the Spread of Some Cancers


Dwarfism not a physical handicap in Ancient Egypt

Dwarfism not a physical handicap in Ancient Egypt

The dwarf god Bes

A team of Georgetown University Hospital studied biological remains and remnants that that showed that dwarfism in ancient Egypt was not seen as a handicap, but as respected individuals in this society.

First reported in the December 27th online American Journal of Medical Genetics, this interesting investigation showed that Egypt morals teachings and wisdom writings commanded respect for dwarfs as well as others with disabilities.  Amenemope who wrote in a book of moral teachings said, “Man is clay and straw, the God is his builder.  The Wise Man should respect people affected by reversal of fortune.”

There are currently 100 medical conditions that we know of today that cause short stature.  The most common cause is called achondroplasia and causes severely shortened limbs.  Around 75% of dwarfs are born from parents of normal height.  Dwarfism not a physical handicap in Ancient Egypt


New Gene Therapy Method to help Muscular Dystrophy – Muscle cells rebuilt in Mice Study

New Gene Therapy Method to help Muscular Dystrophy – Muscle cells rebuilt in Mice Study

Stanford University Medical Center

In a press release from Stanford University Medical Center, a new gene therapy technique that was originally intended for skin disease and hemophilia may also have promise for treating muscular dystrophy.  The study conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine, investigated the dystrophin gene in hopes to develop a new treatment for people with muscular dystrophy.

The gene therapy technique is called Rando, named after Thomas Rando MD, PhD an associated professor of neurology and neurological sciences who has been in the process of try to find a cure with gene therapy for muscular dystrophy.  The obstacle has been getting the genes to go into all the muscle cells in the body.  The second challenge is to get the cells to permanently manufacture the beneficial protein created from the gene therapy.  New Gene Therapy Method to help Muscular Dystrophy – Muscle cells rebuilt in Mice Study


Study Finds Common Supplements and Diet can Help Prevent Disease

Study Finds Common Supplements and Diet can Help Prevent Disease

Folic Acid

The old saying “you are what you eat” may have more evidence to bolster its claims. Rats were injected with a specific amino acid which changed the way their genes were expressed.  It may be possible that dietary supplements or drugs could permanently halt the genetic effects that predispose people to mental and physical illnesses.

The research was conducted at the McGill University in Montreal Canada by Moshe Szyf, Michael Meaney and their colleagues.  They found that certain nutrients and supplements changed genetics by switching off certain genes in rodents, as reported in EureAlert.

Two years ago (New Scientist, 9 August 2003, p 14) a similar study was conducted where researchers found that the activity of a mouse's genes could be influenced by food supplements eaten by its mother just prior to or during the early stages of pregnancy. This research was conducted at Duke University. Study Finds Common Supplements and Diet can Help Prevent Disease


Viagra used to treat Raynaud's Phenomenon

Viagra used to treat Raynaud's Phenomenon

Cold Hands

Raynaud’s phenomenon may have a new treatment option for improving circulation in affected patients.  Viagra (sildenafil) was found to help the ulcers in their fingers and toes and started a healing process.

First reported in the November issue of Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association, this treatment with Viagra has promising hope for a treatment for people with microcirculatory disorders.

A study of 18 patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon was conducted by Dr. Roland Fries and colleagues from Gothard-Schettler-Klinik in Bad Schonborn, Germany.   After two other medications failed to help this condition they gave 50 mg of Viagra twice a day for a 4 week period of time.  Viagra used to treat Raynaud's Phenomenon


Cures using interfering RNAi may be around the Corner

Cures for interfering RNAi may be around the Corner

RNA Interference

It is becoming more evident each day that your DNA has a lot to with the diseases you get, including cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.  Scientists have always wondered if there was a way to change your genes to prevent these illnesses. 

One of the more exciting avenues in this study is RNA interference (or RNAi).  During the 1990's, scientists realized the power of the RNAi technique to determine gene function by blocking the expression of a specific mRNAs. 

The silencing (or interference) occurs when an organism (like a human) is injected with an RNA sequence that is complementary to the mRNA transcribed from the target gene.  The interference will block the production of an encoded protein.  This may be a process to correct many genetic defects. Cures for interfering RNAi may be around the Corner


SEPS1 Gene Discovered Regulates Inflammation in Humans

SEPS1 Gene Discovered Regulates Inflammation in Humans

Cell Inflammation

Researchers in the U.S. and Australia have discovered a gene that regulates inflammation.  They accessed the role of genetic variations in the selenoprotein S (SEPS1, also called SELS or SELENOS), a gene involved in stress response in the endoplasmic reticulum and inflammation control.

This could have far-reaching implications because inflammation has been shown to have an underlying role in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s diseases.  It has been reported that the research could lead to a therapy in two to four years.  RNA interference could play a role in therapy.

The researchers re-sequenced SEPS1 on chromosome 15 and genotyped 13 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in 522 individual participants from 92 families in Wisconsin and Texas.  They compared various measurable traits of inflammation including plasma levels.  SEPS1 Gene Discovered Regulates Inflammation in Humans


Gene Discovery may Lead to Obesity Treatment

Gene Discovery may Lead to Obesity Treatment

Gene Discovery

Research out of the Duke Medical Center may shed light on why it is so hard to keep weight off after dieting.  It was found that skeletal muscle tissue and cells from obese people were programmed to store fat even when removed from the body and forced to grow in the laboratory.

Dr Deborah Duoio found that an accumulation of intramuscular lipids called SCD1 (Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1) becomes over-expressed in obese women.  The increase of the gene SCD1 starts a cascade of cellular events culminating in increased fat storage in muscle tissue.  This may be the key reason why dieting fails.  Gene Discovery may Lead to Obesity Treatment


Hormone Klotho could extend life expectancy and Slow Aging

Hormone Klotho could extend life expectancy and Slow Aging

Dr. Kuro-o

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center led by Dr. Makoto Kuro-o (M.D., Ph.D.) found that a naturally occurring hormone called Klotho extended the lifespan of mice up to 30%.  They also found that it increases the susceptibility to diabetes and decreases fertility.  The study was reported in the online journal Science Thursday. 

The hormone is produced in the kidney and brain but can leak into the bloodstream. It is the leakage that helped the mice live longer, so it appears. Researchers will be looking into whether people that live longer have an surplus of this hormone in the blood.  Hormone Klotho could extend life expectancy and Slow Aging

 

 


New Study shows possible cure for Hereditary Deafness

New Study shows possible cure for Hereditary Deafness

Ear

Scientists from the University of Iowa and researchers from Okayama University in Japan have shown a potential method to cure a type of hereditary deafness by stopping the gene that causes the hearing loss.

Richard Smith, M.D. research Professor in Otolaryngology at University of Iowa said, "We gave a genetically-deafened mouse interfering RNA that specifically prevents a gene from being expressed that would otherwise cause deafness. By preventing its expression, we prevented the deafness. Even though this is in the early stages, it is really exciting because it points to other options for people who have hearing loss other than hearing aids or cochlear implants."
Complete Article


Study gives hope for Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease Mice Tau study

The Human Brain

New research brings hope for early stage Alzheimer’s sufferers.  A new mutant protein called tau may be poisoning brain cells in those affected with the disease.  It is hoped that future research will create a treatment that blocks tau. 

Previous research has focused on another protein called beta-amyloid.  After this new study published in the journal of Science Thursday, expect research to begin on treatments for blocking tau also. 

 

 

 

 
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