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 'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society

nachricht New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

New tech for commercial Lithium-ion batteries finds they can be charged 5 times fast

20.02.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>