MedGenome Labs Ltd. – Publications | MedGenome | MedGenome - Part 9


At MedGenome, we are deeply focused on continuous innovation, and publishing our findings for the larger benefit of the genetic testing community. Read through our publications for details of our latest work.

Date: April 2, 2015

Stargardt disease (STGD) is the leading cause of juvenile macular degeneration associated with progressive central vision loss, photophobia, and colour vision abnormalities. In this study, we have described the clinical and genetic features of Stargardt patients from an Indian cohort. The next generation sequencing was carried out in five clinically confirmed unrelated patients and their family members using a gene panel comprising 184 retinal specific genes. Sequencing results were analyzed by read mapping and variant calling in genes of interest, followed by their verification and interpretation. Genetic analysis revealed ABCA4 mutations in all of the five unrelated patients. Among these, four patients were found with compound heterozygous mutations and another one had homozygous mutation. All the affected individuals showed signs and symptoms consistent with the disease phenotype. We report two novel ABCA4 mutations in Indian patients with STGD disease, which expands the existing spectrum of disease-causing variants and the understanding of phenotypic and genotypic correlations. Screening for causative mutations in patients with STGD using panel of targeted gene sequencing by NGS would be a cost effective tool, might be helpful in confirming the precise diagnosis, and contributes towards the genetic counselling of asymptomatic carriers and isolated patients.

Date: January 16, 2015

Targeted therapies have changed the course of cancer treatment in recent years. By reducing toxicity and improving outcome, these new generations of precision medicines have extended patient lives beyond what could be achieved by the use of nontargeted therapies. In the last 2 years, several new molecular entities targeting signaling proteins and immune pathways have gone through successful clinical development resulting in their approval. These new targeted therapies require patient selection and the discovery of biomarkers of response. This review discusses the evolution of targeted therapies in cancer and challenges in translating the concepts into clinical practice.

Date: October 31, 2014

The M1 and M2 states of macrophage polarization are the two extremes of a physiologic/phenotypic continuum that is dynamically influenced by environmental signals. The M1/M2 paradigm is an excellent framework to understand and appreciate some of the diverse functions that macrophages perform. Molecular analysis of mouse and human macrophages indicated that they gain M1 and M2-related functions after encountering specific ligands in the tissue environment. In this perspective, I discuss the function of recepteur d’origine nantais (RON) receptor tyrosine kinase in regulating the M2-like state of macrophage activation Besides decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine production in response to toll-like receptor-4 activation, macrophage-stimulating protein strongly suppresses nitric oxide synthase and at the same time upregulates arginase, which is the rate limiting enzyme in the ornithine biosynthesis pathway. Interestingly, RON signaling preserved some of the characteristics of the M1 state, while still promoting the hallmarks of M2 polarization. Therefore, therapeutic modulation of RON activity can shift the activation state of macrophages between acute and chronic inflammatory states.

Date: June 1, 2014

“BACKGROUND AND AIM: This study reports the prevalence of five clinically significant variants associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disorders, and variable responses of individuals to commonly prescribed cardiovascular drugs in a South Indian population from the state of Kerala. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Genomic DNA isolated from 100 out-patient samples from Kerala were sequenced to examine the frequency of clinically relevant polymorphisms in the genes MYBPC3 (cardiomyopathy), SLCO1B1 (statin-induced myopathy), CYP2C9, VKORC1 (response to warfarin) and CYP2C19 (response to clopidogrel). RESULTS: Our analyses revealed the frequency of a 25 bp deletion variant of MYBPC3 associated with risk of cardiomyopathy was 7%, and the SLCO1B1 “C” allele associated with risk for statin-induced myopathy was 15% in this sample group. Among the other variants associated with dose-induced toxicity of warfarin, VKORC1 (c.1639G>A), was detected at 22%, while CYP2C9*3 and CYP2C9*2 alleles were present at a frequency of 15% and 3% respectively. Significantly, the tested sample population showed high prevalence (66%) of CYP2C19*2 variant, which determines response to clopidogrel therapy. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified that certain variants associated with cardiovascular disease and related drug response in the five genes, especially those in VKORC1, CYP2C19 and MYBPC3, are highly prevalent in the Kerala population, with almost 2 times higher prevalence of CYP2C19*2 variant compared with other regions in the country. Since the variants chosen in this study have relevance in disease phenotype and/or drug response, and are detected at a higher frequency, this study is likely to encourage clinicians to perform genetic testing before prescribing therapy.”””

Date: August 31, 2012

With over 1.3 billion people, India is estimated to contain three times more genetic diversity than Europe. Next-generation sequencing technologies have facilitated the understanding of diversity by enabling whole genome sequencing at greater speed and lower cost. While genomes from people of European and Asian descent have been sequenced, only recently has a single male genome from the Indian subcontinent been published at sufficient depth and coverage. In this study we have sequenced and analyzed the genome of a South Asian Indian female (SAIF) from the Indian state of Kerala.

Date: November 27, 2013

Foveal hypoplasia and optic nerve misrouting are developmental defects of the visual pathway and only co-occur in connection with albinism; to date, they have only been associated with defects in the melanin-biosynthesis pathway. Here, we report that these defects can occur independently of albinism in people with recessive mutations in the putative glutamine transporter gene SLC38A8. Nine different mutations were identified in seven Asian and European families. Using morpholino-mediated ablation of Slc38a8 in medaka fish, we confirmed that pigmentation is unaffected by loss of SLC38A8. Furthermore, by undertaking an association study with SNPs at the SLC38A8 locus, we showed that common variants within this gene modestly affect foveal thickness in the general population. This study reveals a melanin-independent component underpinning the development of the visual pathway that requires a functional role for SLC38A8.

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