Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Host gene that makes people vulnerable to leprosy discovered

10.02.2003


An international research team, led by Dr. Erwin Schurr and Dr. Thomas Hudson, Scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, have identified a gene on human chromosome 6 that makes people vulnerable to leprosy. The study will be published in the March 2003 issue of Nature Genetics.



"This discovery will now allow us to study how the gene works and how it influences the infectious process. This is an important step toward the development of innovative prevention and treatment strategies for leprosy", stated Dr. Schurr.

"Leprosy has plagued humans for many centuries and it continues to be a concern in many countries," stated Dr. Marcel Behr, Infectious Disease Specialist at the MUHC and Assistant Professor of Medicine at McGill University. "These studies lead the way to developing better treatment and a possible vaccine."


Leprosy, a chronic disease caused by infection with the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae, affects approximately one million people worldwide. While it is a rare disease in Canada and the United States, the World Health Organization has identified 91 countries in which leprosy infection is highly prevalent. Symptoms of leprosy include pigmented skin lesions, permanent nerve damage leading to numbness of the feet and hands and, if left untreated, the disease may result in gross disfiguration including loss of finger, toes, feet and hands. The leprosy bacteria are transmitted through direct personal contact or contaminated respiratory droplets.

Schurr and his colleagues used a technique called "genome scanning" to map the gene. The research team analyzed DNA samples from nearly 100 families who were susceptible to the disease, and found that the families shared a common gene variant on chromosome 6. They then analyzed the DNA of an additional 200 families with leprosy to confirm their findings. "In the last few years advances in technology have made complex genetic analyses, such as those used in this study, possible, "stated Dr. Thomas Hudson. "Without these advances and the cooperation of the families, this research would not have been possible."

This is the second study, published in 2003 by McGill/CGDN scientists, that illustrates the importance of host genes in infectious disease. Dr. Philippe Gros discovered a gene (Naip-5) could make mice resistant to Legionnaire’s Disease. "We are now looking forward to applying the same gene identification strategies for other common infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria", stated Dr. Alexandre Alcaïs, a scientist at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médical (INSERM) Unité 550 at Necker Medical School, Paris, and co-author of the study.

Dr. Erwin Schurr is a Scientist at the McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance, a Researcher at the McGill University Health Centre, and an Investigator of the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network. Dr. Thomas Hudson is Director of the Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, a Scientist at the McGill University Health Centre, and an Investigator of the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network. The research was supported with grants from the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and Genome Quebec.

The Canadian Genetic Diseases Network is a not-for-profit corporation, committed to advancing Canada’s scientific and commercial competitiveness in genetic research, and the application of genetic discoveries to prevent, diagnose, and treat human disease. To achieve its objectives, CGDN participates in three essential activities: facilitates and funds collaborative research in human genetics across Canada; educates emerging scientists to excel in human genetic disease research; and facilitates partnerships between industry and academia to translate research discoveries into innovative therapies or diagnostic tests. CGDN is part of the Canadian Network Centres of Excellence program.

For Information contact:
Canadian Genetic Diseases Network:
Dean Sas, Corporate Development and Communications Manager
TEL: 604-221-7300 ext. 110
dsas@cgdn.ca

MUHC Communications Services:
Christine Zeindler
Communications Coordinator (Research)
514-934-1934 ext. 36419
pager: 514-406-1577


Christine Zeindler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Exploring a new frontier of cyber-physical systems: The human body
18.05.2015 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Soft-tissue engineering for hard-working cartilage
18.05.2015 | Technische Universitaet Muenchen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

Im Focus: First electrical car ferry in the world in operation in Norway now

  • Siemens delivers electric propulsion system and charging stations with lithium-ion batteries charged from hydro power
  • Ferry only uses 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) per route and reduces cost of fuel by 60 percent
  • Milestone on the road to operating emission-free ferries

The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...

Im Focus: Into the ice – RV Polarstern opens the arctic season by setting course for Spitsbergen

On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.

RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...

Im Focus: Gel filled with nanosponges cleans up MRSA infections

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.

To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use

20.05.2015 | Event News

15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists

18.05.2015 | Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing health in Europe. Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities

12.05.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Mesoporous Particles for the Development of Drug Delivery System Safe to Human Bodies

22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences

Computing at the Speed of Light

22.05.2015 | Information Technology

Development of Gold Nanoparticles That Control Osteogenic Differentiation of Stem Cells

22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>