Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover 'vitiligo gene', paving the way for new treatments

22.03.2007
In a study appearing in the March 22 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at St George’s, University of London, the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center (UCDHSC) and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes have discovered a connection between a gene and the chronic skin condition vitiligo, as well as a possible link to an array of other autoimmune diseases.

Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and funding from the Vitiligo Society (UK) and the National Vitiligo Foundation (USA), the study analysed two independent groups of families enrolled between 1996 and 2005. Samples were obtained from a total of 656 Caucasian individuals from 114 extended families with vitiligo and other epidemiologically associated autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The researchers began with a study of vitiligo, a distressing condition causing loss of pigment resulting in irregular pale patches of skin, which is visibly detectable in the 0.5% to 1% of people affected by it. The researchers found that persons with vitiligo also have a risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, as do their close relatives, even those without vitiligo. By searching the genome, the researchers discovered that NALP1 – a gene that controls part of the immune system that serves to alert the body to viral and bacterial attacks – was a key gene involved in predisposing to vitiligo and all the other autoimmune diseases that ran in these families.

“The findings give us a clue to why the immune system attacks one of the body’s own tissues: if the sensor NALP1 is over-reactive, it could trigger a response to the wrong stimulus,” said Professor Dorothy Bennett, Professor of Cell Biology at St George’s, University of London, and investigator for the UK arm of this study. “We hope to study exactly how this works, and to learn even more from the other genes that we are working to identify.

... more about:
»George’s »NALP1 »Spritz »autoimmune »vitiligo

“We are enormously grateful to the patients for their enthusiastic participation, and it’s a great pleasure to find that the first major gene identified is one that suggests new approaches to treatment.”

St George’s, University of London, recruited around half the families who took part in this research, working with the Vitiligo Society. Clinical Co-ordinator Anita Amadi-Myers, of St George’s, worked with patients to get family information and samples. These were sent for analysis to the University of Colorado.

“What’s really exciting for us is that NALP1 hasn’t been specifically implicated in autoimmune diseases before,” said Richard Spritz, MD, director of the Human Medical Genetics Program at UCDHSC and lead investigator for this study. “Since NALP1 appears to be part of our body’s early-warning system for viral or bacterial attack, this gives us ideas about how to try to discover the environmental triggers of these diseases. This finding may also open up new approaches to treatment, possibly for many different autoimmune diseases.”

As a group of approximately 80 disorders that can involve almost any tissue, organ or system, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases affect 15 million to 25 million people in the United States. In women, they rank among the top ten causes of death.

Dr. Spritz and his team hope to soon begin organising a clinical trial of a new treatment for vitiligo, based on their NALP1 discovery. Spritz foresees research labs using the information from the UCDHSC study to replicate or test the results in patients with other autoimmune diseases to see how broad potential applications might be. His hope is that the gene NALP1 is also found to be involved in autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, Addison’s disease, thyroid disease and lupus, among others.

“All diseases are complex, the result of different genes and environmental risk factors acting together in concert. But if NALP1 turns out to be one of the major genes involved in numerous autoimmune diseases, and if we can interrupt its negative effects, we may have the chance to treat many different chronic autoimmune disorders like vitiligo, lupus and psoriasis and perhaps eventually eliminate them altogether,” said Dr. Spritz.

Tamsin Starr | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgul.ac.uk

Further reports about: George’s NALP1 Spritz autoimmune vitiligo

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>