Persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can lead to chronic hepatitis C and then progress to fatal liver diseases including liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths.
Worldwide, more than 170 million people are infected with HCV, and the virus accounts for 30–70% of liver cancer cases. The recent identification of a genetic variant associated with increased susceptibility to hepatitis C virus-induced liver cancer could have major implications for global healthcare, as it may lead to tests that predict liver cancer susceptibility.
Michiaki Kubo of the RIKEN Center for Genomic Medicine and colleagues from RIKEN and The University of Tokyo discovered the variant by analyzing the entire genomes of 721 Japanese individuals with HCV-induced liver cancer and comparing them with those of 2,890 HCV-negative controls1. This allowed them to identify variants potentially associated HCV-induced liver cancer . They confirmed the association of one variant by replicating the study in another 673 liver cancer patients and 2,596 controls.
This variant was located within a region on chromosome 6, which contains many genes that are critical for immune system function. It lies between the genes encoding MICA, a membrane protein that activates the anti-tumor effects of white blood cells, and the HLA-B gene, which encodes a peptide that enables the immune system to distinguish between the body’s own proteins and those produced by invading microbes.
The researchers checked the variant in another 1,730 individuals with chronic hepatitis C who had not developed liver cirrhosis or liver cancer, and revealed that it was significantly associated with progression from chronic hepatitis C to liver cancer, but not with susceptibility to chronic hepatitis C.
Finally, Kubo and colleagues examined MICA protein levels in patients with chronic hepatitis C and HCV-induced liver cirrhosis, and found that the level of MICA in blood samples was elevated during early stages of the disease compared to healthy controls. They also found that the identified variant was correlated with low MICA levels in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
These findings suggest that individuals carrying the genetic variant would express low levels of MICA. This in turn would lead to reduced response by white blood cells to cells infected with viruses, increasing the likelihood of progression from chronic hepatitis C to liver cancer.
“Our results suggest that low serum MICA levels are a marker for higher susceptibility to progression of liver cancer in the patients with chronic hepatitis C,” says Kubo.
The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Laboratory for Genotyping Development, RIKEN Center for Genomics MedicineReference:
Bacteria as pacemaker for the intestine
22.11.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Researchers identify how bacterium survives in oxygen-poor environments
22.11.2017 | Columbia University
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
22.11.2017 | Business and Finance
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy