Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene may fend off prions

15.11.2001


Part of a prion, the protein implicated in vCJD
© SPL


A gene may protect people against variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

People who lack a gene involved in immune responses may be three times more likely to suffer from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a new study suggests1. The result, if borne out in larger studies, could point researchers toward therapies for the incurable brain disease.

vCJD is thought to occur when people are exposed to misshapen prion proteins from cows with bovine spongiform encephalopathy - BSE or ’mad cow disease’. The gene does not appear to protect against the sporadic form of the disease (CJD).



Of 50 patients with vCJD - about half of those known to have the disease - only 12% have a gene called DQ7, John Collinge of Imperial College School of Medicine in London and his colleagues have found. In contrast, 36% of the normal population has the gene.

The small number of participants makes it difficult to draw conclusions from the study, experts warn. "These kinds of studies are very susceptible to false positive findings," says Cornelia van Duijn, a genetic epidemiologist at Erasmus University Medical School in Rotterdam.

But, by shedding light on susceptibility to the disease, the study could improve estimates of how many people will develop it, van Duijn adds.

It would take something like 500 patients - many more than have been diagnosed - to get truly reliable findings, says Stephen O’Brien, a geneticist at that US National Cancer Institute in Maryland. Nonetheless, he says, "the results are provocative and make us want to know if they’re right".

It would be good to test a larger sample, agrees Collinge.

Although the findings do not point to any immediate therapy for the disease they could help researchers looking for treatments. "If we can understand why DQ7 is important in protecting against vCJD, it might open up new avenues to treatment," Collinge says.

References

  1. Jackson, G. S. et al. HLA-DQ7 antigen and resistance to variant CJD. Nature, 414, 269 - 270, (2001).


ERICA KLARREICH | © Nature News Service
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/nsu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Custom-tailored strategy against glioblastomas
26.09.2016 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New leukemia treatment offers hope
23.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

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: First-Ever 3D Printed Excavator Project Advances Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing R&D

Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.

Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications...

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Paper – Panacea Green Infrastructure?

30.09.2016 | Event News

HLF: From an experiment to an establishment

29.09.2016 | Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

First-Ever 3D Printed Excavator Project Advances Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing R&D

30.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

New Technique for Finding Weakness in Earth’s Crust

30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences

Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity

30.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>