The Ottumwa Courier

Community News Network

July 18, 2013

Down syndrome's extra chromosome silenced in lab cells

(Continued)

The scientists used skin cells from a Down syndrome patient that had been tricked into reverting into stem cells that, like embryonic ones, can grow into any type of tissue. Then they inserted a copy of Xist into the extra chromosome using technology from Richmond, California-based Sangamo.

Once inserted into the stem cells, scientists switched on Xist using the antibiotic tetracycline, setting off a process that effectively silenced the extra chromosome, Lawrence said.

When the chromosome had been silenced, the cells grew better in the culture, Lawrence said. What's more, they saw an increased rate of formation of cells that are precursors to neurons.

The most immediate application for the discovery is to learn about how the extra chromosome affects the development of cells, said Lawrence.

"We do hope that over the longer term, the idea of chromosome therapy could be applied to some aspects of the disease," she said. That's more than a decade away, she said. Because the technique wouldn't work in all the cells of the body, gene therapy based on this work could only be used for targeted effects, such as lowering the risk of blood cancers. Even a gene therapy for Down syndrome wouldn't necessarily be a cure, she said.

Physical issues that accompany Down syndrome include heart defects, stomach trouble, hearing difficulties and a higher likelihood of childhood leukemia. Alzheimer's disease is also very common among patients with the disorder. About 80 percent of people with Down syndrome acquire the dementia, due to the extra copy of a gene that boosts the formation of characteristics of Alzheimer's plaques in the brain.

"Down syndrome is underfunded," Lawrence said. "We're hoping what we've done here will accelerate multiple avenues of research, and maybe give more hope to the community."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National