To try to identify pathological genes that are involved in ALS, the research group at Umeå University, in collaboration with Dutch and Belgian scientists, compared DNA samples from 1,767 patients with non-familial ALS (so-called sporadic ALS, SALS) with DNA samples from 1,916 control individuals. This is the world's most comprehensive ALS study so far. They looked for DNA mutations that only exist in ALS patients, not in controls. After very extensive analyses they found that a DNA mutation in the gene DPP6 strongly correlates with SALS.
The DPP6 gene is on chromosome number 7 and codes for a protein enzyme, a peptidase that regulates the activity of so-called neuropeptides, that is, substances that affect nerve cells. DPP6 is therefore highly interesting as a candidate gene for ALS. Studies are now concentrating on finding disease-associated mutations in the gene. Just how mutations in the DPP6 gene can lead to ALS is unknown today. At present it is not possible to judge whether the discovery will lead to any new treatment for ALS.
The Swedish component of the study was carried out by Associate Professor Peter M. Andersen, molecular geneticist Anna Birve, and research engineer Ann-Charloth Nilsson, all with the Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Neuroscience, Umeå University.
Extensive research on ALS has been pursued at Umeå University since 1992. The objective is to use new knowledge about the mechanisms behind the disease in order to develop therapies for ALS. The main focus is on molecular biological and genetic aspects of the disease and mutations in SOD1 and other genes. Resources (funding, staffing) do not allow any attempted treatment of patients at present.
The research team at Umeå consists of 23 people in four subgroups, directed by Associate Professor Peter Andersen (genetic research), Associate Professor Thomas Brännström (neuropathology), Professor Stefan Marklund (free radicals and cell research), and Associate Professor Henrik Antti (metabolomics).Contacts:
The average survival time is 2.5-3 years, but some few patients live >10 years with the disease. There is no curative treatment. As of 1996 there is a medicine that slows down the course of the disease and can extend survival by a few months.
The effect is greatest if the medicine is introduced at an early stage of the illness. Nowadays there are special ALS teams that work to provide patients and their loved ones with the best possible help.
Bertil Born | idw
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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