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First Gene Chip Discovered by Cincinnati Researchers

Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have developed the first gene chip, termed as “Jaundice Chip” that may lead to early diagnosis of at// least five hereditary liver diseases. The chip may also be used to detect genetic causes of jaundice in children and adults, and potentially to lead to personalized treatment options.

The Cincinnati Children's study results were published in the January issue of the journal Gastroenterology. According to the study, the chip is nearly 100 percent effective in the detection of the most common mutations in children with inherited causes of jaundice.

"Other chips have been developed to assess drug metabolism," said Jorge Bezerra, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Cincinnati Children's and the study's lead investigator. "This is the first chip in the world that has been customized to diagnose genetic mutations in patients with inherited types of liver diseases."

The chip uses a new technology that rapidly and accurately discloses the composition of several genes known to cause liver disease in children and adults. "The jaundice chip may also help us to discover whether subtle changes in these five genes that can cause devastating diseases in children may also modify the clinical course of other common liver diseases in adults,"said Mitchell Cohen, M.D., director of the division of gastroenterology hepatology and nutrition at Cincinnati Children's.

Jaundice is a yellowing of the eyes and skin caused by impairment in bile flow from the liver to the intestine. Impaired bile flow, or cholestasis, commonly known as jaundice, can lead to severe liver disease. In children, jaundice and cirrhosis are responsible for more than half of the need for liver transplantation.

Previous research on humans identified five genes responsible for inherited forms of jaundice, until now, the broad array of causes of cholestasis including genetic, metabolic, inflammatory and dru
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