Mayo Clinic researchers identify gene types driving racial disparities in myeloma
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ROCHESTER Minn. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified three specific gene types that account for a known two-to-three-fold increase in myeloma diagnoses among African-Americans. Researchers also demonstrated the ability to study race and racial admixture more accurately using DNA analysis. The findings were published today in Blood Cancer Journal.

“Myeloma is a serious blood cancer that occurs two to three times more often in African-Americans than Caucasians,” says Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., a hematologist at Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study. “We sought to identifying the mechanisms of this health disparity to help us better understand why myeloma occurs in the first place and provide insight into the best forms of therapy.”

Dr. Rajkumar and his colleagues studied 881 patients of various racial groups. Researchers found that the higher risk of myeloma known to occur in African-Americans was driven by three specific subtypes of the cancer characterized by the presence of genetic translocations in cancer cells. Translocations are genetic abnormalities in cancer cells caused by the rearrangement of parts between nonhomologous chromosomes. The translocation researchers identified were t(11;14), t(14;16), and (t14;20).

“Previous efforts to understand this disparity have relied on self-reported race rather than on genetic ancestry,

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