Mice ex­per­i­ments could bring doc­tors closer to ac­cu­rate liver can­cer di­ag­no­sis

Iran Daily - - Health -

New re­search into a hor­mone com­mon in mice may lead to bet­ter liver can­cer treat­ment in hu­mans, a study said.

The Na­tional Hu­man Genome Re­search In­sti­tute, or NHGRI, pub­lished its find­ings in JCI In­sight, UPI re­ported.

“Find­ings from mouse stud­ies usu­ally take years to trans­late into health care treat­ment, but not in this case,” said Charles P. Ven­ditti, se­nior au­thor and a se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the NHGRI Med­i­cal Ge­nomics and Metabolic Ge­net­ics Branch. “We can use this in­for­ma­tion to­day to en­sure that pa­tients with MMA are treated be­fore they de­velop se­vere com­pli­ca­tions.”

They dis­cov­ered mice with liver can­cer have high lev­els of fi­brob­last growth fac­tor 21, or FGF21, and im­i­tate the same con­di­tion in hu­mans af­flicted with the genome dis­ease methyl­malonic acidemia, or MMA.

The re­searchers de­vel­oped a mouse model that sim­u­lated a metabolic emer­gency in a hu­man MMA pa­tient and ob­served how se­verely it dam­aged the an­i­mal’s liver.

Re­searchers hope the dis­cov­ery will al­low doc­tors to treat pa­tients with MMA by mea­sur­ing their lev­els of FGF21 to gauge how badly their livers have been dam­aged.

MMA dam­ages a per­son’s ca­pa­bil­ity to break down food and fatty acids. About one in 100,000 chil­dren in the US suf­fer from MMA, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health. The dis­ease can nor­mally be di­ag­nosed in new­borns through a screen­ing.

For those chil­dren, a mi­nor virus or di­etary im­bal­ance could lead to a life-threat­en­ing metabolic event.

“We found that hav­ing MMA, whether in a mouse or per­son, causes stress path­ways to be chron­i­cally ac­ti­vated and can im­pair their abil­ity to re­spond to acute stress,” said Irini Manoli, M.D., PH.D., lead au­thor and as­so­ciate in­ves­ti­ga­tor in NHGRI’S Med­i­cal Ge­nomics and Metabolic Ge­net­ics Branch. “Our new mark­ers can ac­cu­rately pre­dict how ef­fec­tive a ther­apy, whether cel­lu­lar or ge­nomic, might be for the pa­tients.”

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