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 NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>