Monday December 17, 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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A Comprehensive Study Of Parasitic Worms Release Numerous Anwers

The analysis found almost a million new genes that had not been seen before, belonging to thousands of new gene families, and identified many new potential drug targets and drugs.

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parasitic Worm
A giant 25m worm representing the parasitic worm of schistosomiasis, that causes significant suffering and death to thousands of people around the world, is pictured on the Lake Leman on the occasion of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Summit, in Geneva, Switzerland. VOA

The largest study to date of the genetic makeup of parasitic worms has found hundreds of new clues about how they invade the human body, evade its immune system and cause disease.

The results point to potential de-worming treatments to help fight some of the most neglected tropical diseases — including river blindness, schistosomiasis and hookworm disease — which affect around a billion people worldwide.

“Parasitic worms are some of our oldest foes and have evolved over millions of years to be expert manipulators of the human immune system,” said Makedonka Mitreva of Washington University’s McDonnell Genome Institute, who co-led the work with colleagues from Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute and Edinburgh University.

parasitic Worm
World’s longest tapeworm. wikimedia

She said the results of this study would lead to both a deeper knowledge of the biology of parasites and a better understanding of how human immune systems can be harnessed or controlled.

Parasitic worm infections can last many years and can cause severe pain, physical disabilities, retarded development in children and social stigma linked to deformity.

Current medicines to combat them — including drugs made by Sanofi, GSK and Johnson & Johnson — can be moderately effective and are often donated by drugmakers or sold at reduced prices to those who need them. But the spectrum of drugs to treat worm infections is still limited.

To try to improve the potential drug pipeline and to understand how worms invade and take up residence inside humans and other animals, the research team compared the genomes of 81 species of roundworms and flatworms, including 45 that had never previously had their genomes sequenced.

parasitic Worm
How gut microbiota can aid in early diagnosis of liver cancer.

The analysis found almost a million new genes that had not been seen before, belonging to thousands of new gene families, and identified many new potential drug targets and drugs.

Also Read: Genes Tied To Obesity May Lower Risk Of Diabetes

“We focused our search by looking at existing drugs for human illnesses,” said the Sanger Institute’s Avril Coghlan, who worked on the team. She said this offered a possible fast-track route “to pinpointing existing drugs that could be repurposed for deworming.”

The study’s findings were published Monday in the journal Nature Genetics. (VOA)