All news from Medical Genetics

Blood Transfusions Through Genome Sequencing, A New Era

Most people are familiar with A, B, AB and O blood types, but there are hundreds of additional blood group "antigens" on red blood cells—substances that can trigger the body's immune response—that differ from person to person. Each year, up to 16 deaths reported to the Federal Drug Administration are attributed to mismatches in red blood cell antigens that are not related to differences in A, B, and O blood groups.

Currently, no method is available that can determine all blood antigens. But as whole genome sequencing becomes routine for patients, it may be possible to modernize therapy by identifying both rare donors and at-risk recipients before blood transfusions.

Study Examines How Higher-order Gene Combinations Help Maintain Normal Cell Physiology

The researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of Toronto examines for the first time how higher-order gene combinations–-comprising three genes–-help maintain normal cell physiology. The findings, reported in the journal American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), could help develop new life-saving treatments to combat diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Effectiveness of Gene Therapy For Beta-thalassemia

In a powerful example of bench-to-bedside science showing how observations made in the lab can spark life-altering therapies in clinic, an international team of clinician-investigators has announced that gene therapy for patients with a severe form of the blood disorder beta-thalassemia can be safe and effective.

Epstein-Barr Virus Linked to 7 Serious Diseases

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) — best known for causing mononucleosis — also increases the risks for some people of developing seven other major diseases, according to a new study.

The diseases are systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes. Combined, these diseases affect nearly 8 million people in the US.

Acute viral bronchiolitis: Genetic Factors Identified

A scientific study conducted at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil, has identified genetic factors associated with the severity of acute viral bronchiolitis. The study was supported by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP. The results were published in the journal Gene.

Target Genes For EBV Related Cancer Identified

VCU Massey Cancer Center has identified two genes that might be responsible for the replication of the Epstein-Barr virus, an infection that drives the growth of several types of cancer. The discovery could lead to the novel therapies for cancer.