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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One piece of the ALS puzzle

» 2009-03-03 18:30
Italians find ALS gene
'First piece of jigsaw, ' researcher says
(ANSA) - Turin, March 3 - An Italian-led study has identified a gene that regulates the killer nerve-wasting disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

''This is a first but very important piece of the jigsaw in discovering the causes that trigger this mysterious and crippling disease,'' said lead researcher Adriano Chio' of Turin's La Molinette hospital.

The study, which appears in the current edition of the journal Human Molecular Genetics, was carried out last year by ten Italian research centres, five in America, two in London and two in Germany.

It was coordinated by La Molinette's neurology department under the direction of Roberto Murani.

Tests were performed on 2,161 patients, 900 of them Italian. The others were American and German.

The 1.5-million-euro two-phase study, which looked at the so-called 'sporadic' type of ALS and not the hereditary type, identified a gene called Sunc1 which appears to play a predominant role in regulating ALS.

But Chio' said Sunc1 was ''probably just the tip of the iceberg''.

He said the study will now move into a third phase in which 300 new patients will be examined, all of them Italian.

''The goal will be to try and find the other genes,'' Chio' said.

Chio' has been helping Turin prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello investigate the apparently disproportionate occurrence of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, in the Italian soccer world.

But the researcher stressed that ''ALS can strike anyone''.

1 comment:

Alice said...

very interesting article - thanks for sharing it :O)