Study identifies role of specific gene in hardening of blood vessel walls

Arterial wall calcification is the buildup of calcium in the blood vessel walls, which can often be a predictor of serious cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes. Scientists have long pointed to family history as one possible cause for this hardening of the arteries, but a new study published in Nature Genetics implicates a specific gene—HDAC9—in the calcification of […]

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Researchers create new viral vector for improved gene therapy in sickle cell disease

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed a new and improved viral vector—a virus-based vehicle that delivers therapeutic genes—for use in gene therapy for sickle cell disease. In advanced lab tests using animal models, the new vector was up to 10 times more efficient at incorporating corrective genes into bone marrow stem cells than the conventional vectors currently […]

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Gene protective against fruit fly heat-induced seizures may explain some human seizures

Researchers identified a gene in fruit flies that helps prevent the hyperexcitability of specific neurons that trigger seizures. In humans, mutations in the gene may be linked to seizures associated with Long QT Syndrome. A research team led by Yehuda Ben-Shahar of Washington University in St. Louis report these findings in a paper published 8th August in PLOS Genetics. The […]

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Targeting a blood stem cell subset shows lasting, therapeutically relevant gene editing

In a paper published in the July 31 issue of Science Translational Medicine, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit long-lived blood stem cells to reverse the clinical symptoms observed with several blood disorders, including sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia. It’s the first time that scientists have specifically edited the genetic makeup of a specialized subset […]

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Proposed gene therapy for a heart arrhythmia, based on models made from patient cells

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital report creating the first human tissue model of an inherited heart arrhythmia, replicating two patients’ abnormal heart rhythms in a dish, and then suppressing the arrhythmia with gene therapy in a mouse model. Their work, published in two papers in the July 30 print issue of the journal Circulation, opens the possibility of developing single-dose […]

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Researchers find new mutation in the leptin gene

The global obesity epidemic is so far-reaching it now has an overarching name: globesity. Texas Biomed Staff Scientist Raul Bastarrachea, M.D., is part of a team that discovered a new mutation in the gene that regulates the key hormone suppressing hunger called leptin. This new mutation could help researchers understand why people develop excess of body fat. Dr. Bastarrachea’s research […]

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A new genetic tool to modify and understand gene function

Scientists of the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) led by Rui Benedito have developed a new genetic tool called iSuRe-Cre that provides certainty in Cre-inducible genetic modifications, a key technique for understanding gene function. Most analysis of gene function in biomedical research relies on the use of Cre-lox technology. Since its introduction in 1994, this technology has revolutionized biomedical […]

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Gene levels could help predict prognosis for colorectal cancer

Levels of a gene that helps the immune system differentiate the good cells from the bad could be a good indicator of prognosis in people with colorectal cancers, Medical College of Georgia researchers report. Looking at 15 genes known to be associated with colorectal cancers—eight associated with lower survival rates and seven with higher—the researchers found that one gene, CCR4, […]

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Experts call for halt to CRISPR editing that allows gene changes to pass on to children

Remember the global outrage four months ago at world-first claims a researcher had used the gene editing tool CRISPR to edit the genomes of twin girls? The molecular scissors known as CRISPR (CRISPR/cas9 in full) allow scientists to modify DNA with high precision and greater ease than previous technologies. Now researchers from the USA, Europe, China and New Zealand have […]

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Researchers discover serotonin can regulate gene expression inside neurons

The brain chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter long known for its role in passing signals between neurons in the brain, can also regulate expression of genes within neurons in an unexpected way, according to research conducted by neuroscientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published on March 13 in the journal Nature. The discovery may help scientists […]

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