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Dartmouth researchers discover gene signatures for scleroderma
Date:7/15/2008

orithms to select subsets of genes that can classify the patients. The technology offers an objective way to survey and analyze thousands of genes at a time and look at inherent gene programs in the skin samples, which like most cells, contain all the human genetic information.

The patients split into four major groups, each with a distinct gene profile. One group with severe disease had a proliferation signature, indicating dividing cells. An inflammatory group included several forms of the disease with a signature for T cells and other characteristics of inflammation. Another signature was limited to patients with more serious vascular and less skin involvement, while a fourth, normal-like group included healthy controls as well as patients diagnosed as having the more severe diffuse disease, and limited disease. The researchers also identified a gene signature that highly correlated with increased severity of skin disease.

The results, according to Whitfield, help tie together basic and clinical science for scleroderma and could potentially be used as an outcome measure in clinical trials. Studies are in progress, he adds, to help define response signatures for specific therapies and determine which drugs will work best for different patient profiles.


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Contact: Hali Wickner
hali.wickner@dartmouth.edu
Dartmouth Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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