In the first week of June we bring you news of a study led by leading researchers which has identified over 200 genetic factors linked to arrhythmias – a common form of heart disease. This discovery will contribute to new potential treatment options and improved outcomes for patients. We also look at COVID-19 6 months in and a component of gene therapies which might work as part of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2; as well as progress in the treatment of alcohol-related liver disease; hemophilia A; schizophrenia; and digital technologies to help improve healthcare provision for the elderly.
Over 200 Genetic Factors Found Linked to Heart Arrhythmias
Over the past 10 years, researchers have identified many genetic factors that contribute to—or protect against—the onset of specific heart diseases. However, it has been difficult to find genetic factors associated with arrhythmias, one of the most common forms of heart disease where the heart beats abnormally. Hundreds of new links have been found between people’s DNA and the heart’s electrical activity, according to a study of almost 300,000 people led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, the Broad Institute of MIT, and Harvard.
A Portrait of Coronavirus at 6 Months
A virus, at heart, is information, a packet of data that benefits from being shared. The information at stake is genetic: instructions to make more virus. Unlike a truly living organism, a virus cannot replicate on its own; it cannot move, grow, persist or perpetuate. It needs a host. The viral code breaks into a living cell, hijacks the genetic machinery and instructs it to produce new code — new virus.
BioMarin’s Gene Therapy for Hemophilia A Remains on Track for US Approval
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, BioMarin Pharmaceutical‘s application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking approval of valoctocogene roxaparvovec, an experimental gene therapy for adults with severe hemophilia A, remains on track.
Out-of-Sync Brain Waves may Underlie Learning Deficit Linked to Schizophrenia
A new UC San Francisco study has pinpointed a specific pattern of brain waves that underlies the ability to let go of old, irrelevant learned associations to make way for new updates. The research is the first to directly show that a particular behavior can be dependent on the precise synchronization of high-frequency brain waves in different parts of the brain, and might open a path for developing interventions for certain psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia.