Navigation Links
Specially-bred mice help target an annual outbreak: the flu

PORTLAND, Ore As part of a national collaboration, Oregon Health & Science University researchers are studying specially bred mice that are more like humans than ever before when it comes to genetic variation. Through these mice, the researchers hope to better understand and treat an infectious disease that plagues us year in and year out: the flu.

The scientists aim to determine why some people suffer serious illness and even death when infected with influenza while others suffer only mild to moderate symptoms. The research is published in a special joint issue of the journals Genetics and G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, both publications of the Genetics Society of America.

The research was conducted within the Pacific Northwest Regional Center for Excellence (PNWRCE) for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, a consortium of investigators with extensive expertise, and basic and translational research capacity directed at a broad range of pathogens. The cooperative effort has the goal of combating emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases that pose a serious threat to human health. The director of the PNWRCE is Jay Nelson, Ph.D., the founder and director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at OHSU.

For decades, mice have played a key role in developing new treatments from the discovery of penicillin to the creation of polio vaccine. Because mice studied in labs are bred in a controlled manner, they are often genetically identical. Most of the time this is beneficial. The lack of genetic variation increases reproducibility and can help researchers more quickly determine a contributing factor to disease, but research on more complex diseases calls for mice to be more like humans who are genetically diverse. That's where this research project differs from many others.

The researchers are studying mice from the Collaborative Cross Program. Because these mice more closely reflect the genetic variation of humans, they may be the key to understanding some of today's most common, and most complex, diseases. In this case, the specially bred mice were used to study the varying immune response to the annual influenza outbreak.

In this research project, the scientists studied 44 groups of flu-infected mice that varied genetically. Due to this variation, the mouse reaction to influenza varied greatly, just as it does in the human population. The researchers then noted genetic differences that may have caused the variety of disease responses. Their ongoing work is to more clearly identify which genes cause these differences.

"Each year, annual influenza epidemics result in about 3 million to 5 million cases of severe illness," explained Shannon McWeeney, Ph.D., an associate professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics and head of the Division of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at OHSU. "We see a broad spectrum of response to influenza infection ranging from patients with minor symptoms to the estimated 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide."

"We want to understand what genetic factors influence this wide-ranging response. More importantly, with a better understanding of the genetic influence of disease response, we believe we can help in the development of better, safer vaccines that can target the most vulnerable population: the sick, elderly and young. We also want to determine if the genetic factors that impact flu response also play a role in the varying responses to other diseases. If so, this new research method could have a much broader impact," McWeeney said.


Contact: Jim Newman
Oregon Health & Science University

Related medicine news :

1. Energy network within cells may be new target for cancer therapy
2. Wayne State proves targeted tumor freezing therapy increases ovarian cancer survival
3. Salk researchers find new drug target for lung cancer
4. Researchers find important target playing role in tobacco-related lung cancers
5. Discovery predicts patient sensitivity to important drug target in deadly brain cancer
6. Drugs targeting chromosomal instability may fight a particular breast cancer subtype
7. A thought-provoking new therapeutic target for brain cancer?
8. FDA OKs Drug That Targets Rare Form of Cystic Fibrosis
9. New target for cancer therapy identified, preclinical study shows
10. Researchers Spot Potential Bile Duct Cancer Drug Targets
11. New therapeutic target to combat liver cancer discovered
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... While it’s often important to take certain medications ... from Austin, Texas, has identified a solution. , She developed a prototype for MOTION ... As such, it eliminates the need to turn on a light when taking medication ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Southern ... and Jennifer Huggins, PharmD ’17, along with clinical associate professor Janice Frueh, ... cardiovascular diseases during the 15th Annual Women’s Health Conference. The SIU School ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills is proud ... and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise funds and ... the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 a.m. – ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... giving viewers the lowdown on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," ... on current events and innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of technology and learning ... Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October 14–18, 2017 at ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/28/2017)... , Sept. 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans ... advance the use of wearable and home sensors for ... disorders. Early Signal Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on ... will provide an affordable analytical system to record and ... ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... Israel and NEW YORK , Sept. 27, ... with mobile health and big data solutions, today announced that its MyDario ... Please check your local TV listings for when The Dr. Oz Show ... ... season this month. ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... 2017  EpiVax, Inc., a leader in the ... today announced the launch of EpiVax Oncology Inc., ... therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax has provided $500,000 in ... enabling technologies to the new precision immunotherapy venture. ... Oncology as Chief Executive Officer. Gad brings over ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: