At present, the hormone EPO is administered to a large number of these patients to alleviate the anemia. But unfortunately, treatment with EPO is not always effective, and not all patients respond to this therapy. VIB scientists connected to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven have been researching the role of the Gas6 protein. This substance has proven successful in the treatment of mice with anemia, without causing the side effects that the use of EPO entails. In addition, Gas6 contributes to a reinforcement of EPO’s effect. Gas6 might possibly form the basis for a new treatment for anemia and offer a remedy for patients where EPO is ineffective.
What is anemia?
When the blood contains too few red blood cells, or when the red blood cells contain too little hemoglobin, the condition is called anemia. Hemoglobin binds to oxygen from the lungs and conveys it throughout our bodies, where it plays an essential role in the body’s production of energy. If there are not enough red blood cells in our body, or if the red blood cells do not contain enough hemoglobin, then insufficient oxygen is transported. A shortage of oxygen in our tissues can cause people to feel tired and weak, and serious cardiovascular, neurological and musculoskeletal abnormalities develop.
EPO as the remedy
EPO (or Erythropoietin) is a hormone that is produced predominantly in the kidneys and that stimulates the formation of red blood cells. However, sometimes the kidneys do not produce enough EPO and anemia results. Such a shortage of EPO often occurs in patients with a chronic disorder (like kidney failure or rheumatoid arthritis) and in cancer patients. In the case of cancer, anemia can be caused by the disease itself as well as by chemotherapy.
When patients with chronic kidney ailments or cancer develop anemia, the human EPO protein is produced in mammalian cells and administered as a drug. The EPO then stimulates the formation of red blood cells, thus alleviating the anemia. But, in a large number of patients, the use of EPO as a remedy fails; in some patients, even high dosages of EPO are not effective.
Gas6 as alternative - and safer - remedy?
VIB researcher Diether Lambrechts and his colleagues have been studying - under the direction of Ed Conway and Peter Carmeliet, and in collaboration with foreign experts - the role of the Gas6 protein in mice. While EPO plays a prominent role in the production of red blood cells throughout our life, Gas6 is only involved in the production of red blood cells in adulthood.
When mice with anemia are treated with Gas6, the red blood cells once again rise to their normal levels in the blood. In contrast to EPO, the use of Gas6 does not result in an excessive production of red blood cells, which increases the risk of thrombosis. Furthermore, Gas6 reinforces the effect of EPO: indeed, when Gas6 is administered to mice that have not produced enough EPO, it works just as well as EPO, and a combined treatment of Gas6 and EPO produces an even greater therapeutic effect.
So, the positive evaluation of Gas6 in anemic mice raises hopes for a more effective and safer remedy for chronic disease patients who have to contend with anemia as a consequence of their disease or therapy.
Ann Van Gysel | alfa
Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics
22.08.2017 | University at Buffalo
Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit
21.08.2017 | Hokkaido University
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
22.08.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.08.2017 | Awards Funding