Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Jan. 17, 2013

Researchers link 25 new gene variants to autism
HealthDay News
Twenty-five newly identified gene variants have been linked to an increased risk for autism, according to a new study. Many of these variants may prove valuable in predicting the risk of autism in children and, if so, could become part of a clinical test to help determine whether a child has an autism spectrum disorder, said study author Dr. Hakon Hakonarson, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.More

Possible role for Huntington's gene discovered
Medical Xpress
The gene that causes Huntington's disease does most of its damage in the basal ganglia, shown in pink. The basal ganglia are responsible for many functions, including voluntary motor control and habit formation. More

Researchers identify new genetic mutation for ALS
Medical Xpress
Researchers have identified a new genetic mutation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosi, opening the door to future targeted therapies. Researchers found that mutations within the ARHGEF28 gene are present in ALS. When they looked across both familial and sporadic forms of the disease, they found that virtually all cases of ALS demonstrated abnormal inclusions of the protein that arises from this gene.More

Tailored asthma therapy on the horizon
The Medical News
U.K. researchers report that montelukast therapy is more effective than salmeterol in children with asthma who have a particular genotype — a finding that could pave the way for personalized asthma management. The authors had previously found in a large study that children with asthma who took salmeterol and inhaled corticosteroids had an increasing likelihood of exacerbations according to how many copies they had of the Arg16 allele located in the beta-2 receptor gene.More

Breast cancer drug tamoxifen effective at treating muscular dystrophy
Medical News Today
A study to soon be published in found that the breast cancer drug tamoxifen was able to reverse some features of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This is very promising news as there is currently no treatment available for alleviating the long term symptoms of DMD, which is a disorder that affects around 1 in 3,600 boys and is very rarely found among girls. It weakens the musculoskeletal system due to a mutation in the dystrophin gene — which is responsible for coding vital muscular proteins. It is characterized by respiratory and cardiovascular problems, fatigue, muscle weakness and progressive difficulty walking. More

Acid blockers: Risk assessment may target preventive use
Targeted use of acid-suppressive medication among non–critically ill hospitalized patients may result in fewer episodes of nosocomial gastrointestinal bleeding, according to researchers who reported their results in an article published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.More

Hearing loss partially reversed in noise-damanaged ears of mice
Los Angeles Times
Anyone who's gone to too many rock concerts or worked with loud machinery for too long may eventually pay the price: hearing loss caused by damage to tiny, sound-transmitting cells in the inner ear. Researchers now report they can regenerate some of these crucial "hair cells" in the inner ears of mice and restore noise-induced damage to some extent. More

New technological advances in stem cell research
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Several companies are developing new approaches to culturing or utilizing stem cells for various applications. In a series of recent poster presentations, scientists from Plasticell, Celartia and Cellular Dynamics International provided details and data on how each company's technology was being employed to advance stem cell research.More

Meet your next surgeon: Dr. Robot
Advances in surgery usually attempt to ameliorate surgery's essential nature: cutting someone to cure him. The less severe the tissue damage, the faster the patient heals — less time in recovery, less money spent recovering from the wounds. In health care this is known as "lowering the downstream costs," and it is what is driving hospitals to invest $2 million a pop for surgical machines. Surgeons — a particularly exacting bunch — have adopted robotics in droves. More

AHA: Hospitals should transition from traditional 'hospitals' to 'health systems'
Becker's Hospital Review
To discuss the role of hospital workforces in redesigning primary care delivery, the American Hospital Association conducted a roundtable in September 2011 made up of nine physician and nurse leaders. They were tasked with establishing recommendations for hospitals and health systems to plan workforce strategies to meet primary care demands. More

Partnerships OK'ed to ease insurance exchange burdens
American Medical News
States that have decided to partner with the federal government in running new insurance marketplaces in 2014 say they seek to maintain some autonomy while limiting state operational costs, but many details on governance, insurance regulation and the role of physicians need to be worked out.More

FDA might tighten reins on Vicodin
USA Today
The DEA for nearly a decade has pushed for tighter restrictions on Vicodin, the nation's most widely prescribed drug. The chronic abuse of such painkillers, and devastating toll associated with this abuse, has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. The agency could get its wish when the Food and Drug Administration considers the DEA's request to put Vicodin in the same category as OxyContin and other powerful narcotics.More

UK cost agency backs drugs for preventing breast cancer
British women with a family history of breast cancer could be offered two drugs to try to prevent the disease under draft guidelines published by the country's healthcare cost watchdog.More