Saturday April 21, 2018

New lupus genes identified by Indian scientist

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New Delhi: 10 new lupus genes were identified by an international Indian-American team of scientists. These genes are associated with the autoimmune disease lupus-a debilitating condition where the body’s immune system becomes unbalanced and attack its own tissues.

Swapan Nath, a scientist at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation(OMRF), and his colleagues analysed more than 17,000 human DNA samples collected from the blood of volunteers across four countries- South Korea, China, Malaysia and Japan.

Nearly 4,500 samples had confirmed cases of lupus while the rest served as healthy controls for the research.

“We know lupus has a strong genetic basis but in order to better treat the disease, we have to identify those genes,” said Nath.

From that analysis, the researchers identified 10 distinct DNA sequence variants linked to lupus.

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. Its signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

This disease has been affecting nearly five million people worldwide, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.

“These findings mark a significant advance in our knowledge base for lupus genes,” said Judith James, director of OMRF’s Autoimmune Disease Institute.

“For every gene we identify, it brings us closer to uncovering the trigger for this puzzling disease. It’s good news for researchers and patients alike,” he added.

One gene known as GTF2I, showed a high likelihood of being involved in the development of lupus according to the study.

“Its genetic effect appears to be higher than previously known lupus genes discovered from Asians, and we surmise that it now may be the predominant gene involved in lupus,” Nath noted in a paper published in the journal Nature Genetics.

The understanding of the disease and development of intervention therapies for patients based on their genetic makeup was identified as the ultimate goal by Nath.(IANS)

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Asthma In Childhood Can Trigger COPD Later: Lancet

Interventions to maximise lung growth in early childhood might modify the risk of COPD in older age, they noted

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Children with asthma uses inhaler to relieve some of the symptoms. Wikimedia Commons

While smoking remains the biggest risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), childhood illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, allergic rhinitis and eczema also amplify the disease, say researchers.

Three-quarters of COPD cases have their origins in poor lung function pathways beginning in childhood, according to a cohort study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.

Asthma can cause severe damage to one’s lungs. VOA

A second study in the journal suggests that there could be a window of opportunity during childhood to reduce the risk of poor lung function in later life.

“These findings highlight the importance of preventing both early life adverse exposures that could lead to poorer lung growth and adult risk factors contributing to accelerated lung decline,” says Professor Shyamali Dharmage from School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia. COPD is expected to be the third-largest cause of death globally by 2030. “It is important that we identify its key causes so that this burden can be reduced,” Dharmage added.

Also Read: Smoking during pregnancy linked to asthma severity in kids

Childhood asthma can trigger COPD in later life. IANS

Reduction of maternal smoke exposure and personal smoking and promotion of immunisation are identified as public health targets to prevent poor lung function pathways.

“Doctors and patients with asthma should be made aware of the potential long-term implications of non-optimal asthma control throughout life, and this should be investigated in future research,” the study authors noted. In the first study, 2,438 participants from the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (Australia) were tracked from childhood to the age of 53.

In the second study, 2,632 participants were tracked from birth to 24 years old and their lung function was measured. In the second study, the authors found that around three-quarters of infants aged one to six months with poor lung function improved throughout their childhood, indicating a window of opportunity to increase lung function and potentially reduce risk of COPD in later life.

Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay
Earlier smoking was the most common cause of COPD. Pixabay

Interventions to maximise lung growth in early childhood might modify the risk of COPD in older age, they noted. IANS

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