Posts Tagged ‘DNA’

CDC Urges New HIV Testing for Donors

Friday, March 18th, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending hospitals test living donors for the virus that causes AIDS no more than seven days before their organs are removed and transplanted, following the first documented U.S. case of HIV transmission from a live organ donor in more than two decades.

According to an investigation by the CDC and New York city and state health officials, a kidney transplant recipient contracted the virus from a donor in an unnamed New York City hospital in 2009. The male donor acknowledged that he had engaged in unprotected sex with another man after he was screened for HIV, but before he donated the organ. The New York hospital tested the donor 79 days before transplant, when he showed no evidence of infection, but did not re-test him closer to the surgery that removed the organ.

The centers’ 1994 guidelines for organ-donor screening, which are being revised, did not address the timing of screening tests.

The CDC is also recommending the use of a test that detects the virus within eight to 10 days of infection.

Of the three major transplant centers serving the city, Mount Sinai Medical Center said the event did not occur there; a spokesman for another, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said, “We don’t have any information about this.” New York University Langone Medical Center said that it would be “inappropriate” to comment. (more…)

Gene therapy treats Parkinson’s disease

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Treating Parkinson’s disease with gene therapy has been shown to be successful in clinical trials for the first time, say US researchers.

The illness causes uncontrolled shaking, stiffness and slow movement as part of the brain dies.

The small study in The Lancet Neurology used a virus to add genes to brain cells, which resulted in reduced symptoms for half of patients.

Parkinson’s UK welcomed the study, but said further research was needed.

The disease affects 120,000 people in the UK, mostly in the over-50s.

There is no cure, although drugs and deep brain stimulation have been shown to reduce symptoms.

Gene treatment
Patients with Parkinson’s have reduced levels of a chemical – GABA – in part of the brain known as the subthalamic nucleus.

The researchers created a virus which “infects” cells with a gene to increase GABA production.

In the trial, 22 patients had the virus injected into their brains while 23 patients had “sham surgery”, to make them think they had the virus injected. (more…)

Scientists Spot Another Gene Behind Type 2 Diabetes

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Finding might someday lead to targeted treatment, researchers say

Scientists have identified a gene variant present in some people of white European descent who have type 2 diabetes.

Although it’s not yet clear how the gene works, it may prove a future target for treatments, among other benefits, say the authors of a study published March 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

As with so many gene studies, however, these findings aren’t likely to translate into anything clinically meaningful soon.

“This shows an association between this gene and an increased risk of diabetes compared to the general population,” said Dr. Steven D. Wittlin, clinical director of the endocrine-metabolism division and director of the Diabetes Service at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“If we can find out how this gene is associated with diabetes from a pathophysiological point of view, then we can figure out how to intervene, but that’s a lot of ifs, and right now we have 92.5 percent of people with diabetes who don’t have this gene,” said Wittlin, who was not involved in the study. (more…)

Gene driver for breast cancer discovered

Monday, February 21st, 2011

A rare but hard-to-treat form of breast cancer is driven by a newly discovered gene, researchers have found.

ZNF703 is the first oncogene to be discovered in five years, and it could lead to more effective treatments down the road, Cancer Research UK said.

Oncogenes tell healthy cells to divide when needed. But in tumours, they are overactive and the cancer multiply unstoppably. The oncogene act like a stuck accelerator that leads a car to speed out of control.

In Friday’s online issue of the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, scientists from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute and the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver said evidence strongly suggests ZNF703 is a new oncogene.

To come to that conclusion, they tested gene activity in 1,172 breast tumour samples that were estrogen receptor-positive. (more…)

Down’s syndrome DNA blood test ‘better screening offer’

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

A DNA blood test for Down’s syndrome could save nearly all pregnant women from invasive tests like amniocentesis, say experts.

Invasive testing takes place in 3% to 5% of pregnant women in the UK – some 30,000 women – and increases the risk of miscarriage.

The new DNA blood test could bring this down to 0.1%, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

Around one woman in every 100 who has an invasive test will miscarry.

Some faced with the dilemma choose not to go for a diagnostic test – which involves having a needle inserted into their bump to draw off a sample of placenta cells or some of the fluid that bathes the baby – particularly if their estimated risk of having a child with Down’s syndrome is smaller than the chance of miscarriage.

The non-invasive DNA blood test could offer another option. (more…)

DNA analysis confirms body as that of slain NIU student Keller

Friday, January 7th, 2011

The family of 18-year-old Antinette “Toni” Keller knew in their hearts that the charred body authorities discovered in a park last year near Northern Illinois University was hers, even before DNA testing confirmed it.

“This definitely makes the reality more tangible and vivid,” said Mary Tarling, Keller’s cousin and a spokeswoman representing Keller’s family.

Prosecutors in DeKalb County said Thursday at a brief hearing in DeKalb County Circuit Court that DNA analysis confirmed the body was that of Keller, an NIU art student from Plainfield.

A fragment of thighbone was sent to Dallas-based laboratory Orchid Cellmark several weeks ago to compare it with saliva samples from Keller’s mother and father, DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell said.

Keller disappeared Oct. 14. A body believed to be hers was discovered Oct. 16, but positive identification had not been made.

William Curl, who is charged with murder, sexual assault and arson in Keller’s death, is being held on about $5 million bail. He appeared in court Thursday via video.

A forensic anthropologist is testing the charred remains.

Attorneys will reconvene in court Feb. 17.

British Ethics Group Calls for Regulations on Testing Sold Directly to Consumers

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Tests often provide medically meaningless data according to ethics group

With medical technology becoming more and more advanced, we have numerous new medical tests that doctors can use to check for various disease conditions. Some of the new genetic tests can be used to determine the chance a patient might have of developing a serious disease like cancer or diabetes at some point in their lives.

The interesting part about many of these genetic tests is that there is a market for direct sales of genetic testing to people that have no symptoms or reason to worry they might develop a certain disease. A new report by a British medical ethics groups has asked that private DNA testing be accredited and have to live up to certain standards to protect consumers.

The group maintains that many of these genetic tests provide “medically and therapeutically meaningless” results and that these false results could lead the person paying for the tests to pay for further testing that isn’t needed and to needlessly worry about their medical condition. The group, called the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, maintains that the results of many genetic tests are “unclear, unreliable, or inaccurate.” In addition to regulating genetic testing, the group also wants regulations placed on body scanning services using MRI and CT scans. (more…)

Virginia Commonwealth Bank selects DNA from Open Solutions

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Open Solutions has announced that Virginia Commonwealth Bank has selected its DNA, an enterprise-wide core relational platform, for the processing needs.

Enhanced by Open Solutions’ advanced open platform, DNA capitalizes on the strength of Open Solutions’ data model and design, while increasing workflow, flexibility and productivity. Built on integrative Oracle relational database, the solution provides the necessary flexibility for running a service-oriented financial institution.

Available as an in-house or outsourced solution, DNA helps banks streamline both front- and back-office processes and creates a comprehensive view of customers, employees and business partners. Virginia Commonwealth Bank will implement DNA in an outsourced environment. (more…)

A/H1N1 deaths rise to 26 in American

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

HOUSTON, June 3 (Xinhua) — Four states on Wednesday reported five deaths related to the A/H1N1 flu virus, bringing the number of total deaths related to the virus to 26 in the United States, according to local health officials.

Michigan and Connecticut are the latest two states which reported their first deaths on Wednesday.

The Michigan Department of Community Health has confirmed that the state’s first death of A/H1N1 flu involved a 53-year-old woman, who died on Tuesday in a hospital in Macomb County after being sick for more than two weeks.

“This is sad and unfortunate. But, at the same time, we do expect a number of deaths (nationally) following the infection from this virus,” James McCurtis, a spokesman for the department, said on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, Michigan reported 298 confirmed cases of A/H1N1 flu statewide, comparing to 287 cases released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on its website. (more…)

Sanofi has winning cancer drug, but short patent

Monday, June 1st, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) – Sanofi-Aventis may have bagged a winning cancer drug when it agreed to buy privately held BiPar Sciences for up to $500 million in April, but a short patent could limit the French group’s scope to cash in on sales.

BiPar’s BSI-201 has emerged as one of the most promising new products at this year’s ASCO cancer conference in Orlando, Florida, with positive mid-stage trial results helping lift Sanofi shares by more than 3 percent on Monday.

But there is a fly in the ointment. A Sanofi spokesman said on Monday that the main U.S. composition patent on the medicine was valid only until 2013, though this could be extended by five years.

In Europe, the patent runs to 2014 and Sanofi will have 10 years data exclusivity after approval.

“These facts probably explain the relatively modest agreed price for the BiPar deal,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a research note.

They estimate BSI-201 could sell between $1 billion and $4 billion a year to Sanofi’s 2016 revenues, with a U.S. launch as possible by late 2010.

On the face of it, that makes the price Sanofi’s new chief executive, Chris Viehbacher, paid for BiPar seem a bargain. The problem is the medicine could face generic competition in the world’s biggest pharmaceuticals market from 2018.

BSI-201 belongs to a new class of drugs that block a cell repair enzyme known as PARP.

It impressed doctors at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on Sunday by improving survival by 60 percent compared with chemotherapy alone for women with tough-to-treat “triple negative breast cancer.”

Patients with triple negative metastatic breast cancer have tumors that do not express the hormones oestrogen or progesterone, as well as the protein HER-2.

These women, who account for 15 to 20 percent of breast cancer patients, have a very aggressive form of disease and there are currently no treatments other than chemotherapy.

Citigroup analyst Mark Dainty said the data for BSI-201 was significantly better than the results with Roche’s Avastin in triple negative patients and the new drug could put 20 to 25 percent of Avastin sales forecasts at risk.

Citi currently forecasts 2011 Avastin breast cancer sales at 1.7 billion Swiss francs ($1.6 billion) and losing 20 percent of this would slice some 2 percent off Roche’s 2011 earnings per shares.

AstraZeneca also has an experimental PARP inhibitor called olaparib that is further behind in development.