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Researchers at TUAS Wildau Find Candidate Gene Culprits for Chronic Pain

New insights by TH Wildau researchers and collaborators are reporting that chronic pain may be caused by the inadvertent reprogramming of more than 2,000 genes in the peripheral nervous system. The researchers speculate this research might ultimately lead to a therapy employing drugs that kill pain by correcting the activity of specific genes. The research was focused on the peripheral nervous system in rodent models.

According to DGSS, a section of the International Association for the Study of Pain, chronic pain affects 17% of all Germans and costs 25 billion Euro's per year in heath care alone. The quality of life of patients suffering from chronic pain can be severely limited. The pain can appear without an apparent cause and available treatments often fail to relieve it efficiently.

At the department of bioinformatics and competence center "Life Science Computing" at TH Wildau under the lead of Prof. Dr. Peter Beyerlein, powerful algorithms were developed to sort through 10.48 billion RNA sequences, assembling the complicated genomic puzzle. Researchers at Mayo Clinic carried out the wet lab experiments generating the needed mRNA molecules, which where then sequenced with Illumina's high-throughput sequencing technology, before they were transferred to Wildau. The Wildau computing results revealed a number of surprises, among them more than 10.465 novel exons and 421 novel genes.

"We were able to look much deeper into the universe of cellular processes, than ever before. It is fascinating how precisely a rigid mathematical reasoning, as consistently taught to our students, can help unveil the internal life of cells ," says Peter Beyerlein, who teaches computer science and bioinformatics in the Biosystems Engineering / Bioinformatics study course at TH Wildau.

The transatlantic team lead by the two Germans, Andreas Beutler, M.D (Mayo clinics Rochester) and Peter Beyerlein (TH Wildau) consisted of: Ronny Amberg, Paul Hammer and Gabriele Petznick all of TH Wildau, Germany;. and Michaela Banck, M.D., of Mayo Clinic; Cheng Wang, M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and Shujun Luo, Ph.D., Irina Khrebtukova, Ph.D., and Gary P. Schroth, Ph.D. all of Illumina Inc., Hayward, Calif.

The study was supported by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as well as the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture (MWFK, State Brandenburg, Germany) and Philips Research, Netherlands.

Technical Contact:
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Peter Beyerlein
Tel. +49 3375 508 948

Bernd Schlütter | idw
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