Development Mechanism for Autoinflammatory Diseases Identified
News Jul 12, 2016
Researchers from the Chromatin and Disease group of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), led by Dr. Esteban Ballestar, have identified for the first time epigenetic alterations in autoinflammatory diseases, particularly in cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS). The study has been published this week in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the most prestigious journal in the clinical immunology area.
Systemic autoinflammatory diseases comprise a set of rare diseases characterized by the presence of recurrent acute inflammatory episodes that result from the deregulation of control of the inflammatory process. These diseases occur as a result of mutations in different genes related to innate immune response and inflammation.
The three diseases that the term CAPS includes are Familial Cold Autoinflamatory Syndrome or FCAS, Muckle-Wells syndrome and Neonatal-Onset Multisystem Inflammatory Disease (NOMID) or Chronic Infantile Neurological Cutaneous Articular Syndrome (CINCA). All CAPS patients have mutations in the encoding gene cryopyrin, a key protein in the process of inflammation. Although the presence of mutations is common, not all patients present with the same clinical features or respond equally to drug treatment.
The study, which was mainly carried out by Drs Roser Vento-Tormo, Damiana Álvarez-Errico and Antonio García-Gómez, has not only shown that CAPS patients have alterations in the DNA methylation-dependent control of inflammation genes in their monocytes, but also that the immunological treatments received by these patients are able to restore methylation levels to those observed in healthy individuals.
Since all CAPS patients neither have the same clinical features nor respond equally to treatment with immune drugs, the observed changes in the DNA methylation open up possibilities for the development of novel biomarkers with clinical uses, including a better characterization of patients as well as a follow-up in their response to treatments.
Gene-edited Pigs are Resistant to Billion-dollar VirusNews
Scientists have produced pigs that can resist one of the world’s most costly animal diseases, by changing their genetic code. Tests with the virus – called Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, or PRRS – found the pigs do not become infected at all. The animals show no signs that the change in their DNA has had any other impact on their health or wellbeing.READ MORE
Penn Medicine Biochemist Receives Major Award for Research on Epigenetic Protein Modifications via Mass SpecNews
Benjamin A.Garcia, PhD, an expert in quantitative proteomics and Presidential Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded the Biemann Medal by the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS). The early-career award recognizes significant achievement in basic or applied mass spectrometry.
Targeting Epigenetic Proteins to Prevent Breast CancerNews
Researchers have discovered that epigenetic proteins promote the proliferation of mammary gland stem cells in response to the sex hormone progesterone. The study suggests that inhibiting these proteins with drugs could prevent the development of breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease.READ MORE