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Entries from March 1, 2015 - March 31, 2015

Friday
Mar202015

Neurodegenerative mouse strain discovered

Sometimes science works by chance.


In a mouse colony that we were breeding to study myeloproliferative disease, just by chance we had a few mice that just started shaking. Seizing the chance to study these further, we found out that our colony had generated a spontaneous mutation in the gene Mbp, a structural component of the insulating layer that keeps nerves insulated (in the same way that the plastic coating of metal wires is required for electricity cables). Without insulation of their nerves, the mice developed an erratic shaking and later on developed seizures. This work ended up revealing new aspects of the regulation of nerve insulation genes, and has been published in the journal Brain Research.

Read more: Staats, Pombal, Schönefeldt, Van Helleputte, Maurin, Dresselaers, Govaerts, Himmelreich, Van Leuven, Van Den Bosch, Dooley J, Humblet-Baron*, Liston*.Transcriptional upregulation of myelin components in spontaneous myelin basic protein-deficient mice. Brain Res. 2015 in press.

Thursday
Mar192015

New cause for early-onset lupus discovered

In a new study out by the Autoimmune Genetics Laboratory, we have discovered a new genetic cause for early-onset systemic lupus erythematosus - mutation in the gene IFIH1. In 2014, mutations of this gene were independently found to cause the neurodegenerative disease Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS). Despite lupus and AGS manifesting as clinically different symptoms, this study shows that mutation in the same gene causes both diseases. The mutation in IFIH1 works via driving excessive production of the cytokine IFN alpha, so this discovery opens up the possibility for treatment once anti-IFN alpha antibodies (currently in development) are approved for use. 

Read moreVan Eyck, De Somer, Pombal, Bornschein, Frans, Humblet-Baron, Moens, de Zegher, Bossuyt, Wouters* & Liston*. IFIH1 mutation causes systemic lupus erythematosus with selective IgA-deficiency. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015, in press.

 

If you would like to support our clinical research, and allow us to take on more cases like this one, you can make a tax-deductable donation the Ped IMID fund, by transferring to IBAN-number BE45 7340 1941 7789, BIC-code: KREDBEBB with the label "voor EBD-FOPIIA-O2010".

Tuesday
Mar172015

New fund to support translational research into paediatric inflammatory diseases

A new fund has been set up to drive bench-to-bedside research for children with inflammatory immune diseases. The Ped IMID fund (Fonds Pediatrische Immuun-inflammatoire Aandoeningen) was set up by Prof Carine Wouters (Pediatric Rheumatology), Prof Patrick Matthys (Immunobiology) and Prof Adrian Liston (Autoimmune Genetics) to build on our strong research cooperation. More than merely "translational research", where basic science is pushed into the clinic, our group performs "dialog research", where we meet regularly to discuss the clinic and the science of the most difficult-to-treat patients. We use the clinic to inform the research and the research to inform the clinic, and have already had multiple break-throughs in understanding and treating children with rare inflammatory diseases. 

If you would like to support our research, and allow us to take on more cases, you can transfer a tax-deductable donation to IBAN-number BE45 7340 1941 7789, BIC-code: KREDBEBB with the label "voor EBD-FOPIIA-O2010".


Saturday
Mar072015

Another school class inspired...

... I just hope Annemarie and Dean warned them that science is a lifestyle choice, not a career.

Friday
Mar062015

You are never too young to become an immunologist

Many thanks for Annemarie van Nieuwenhuijze and Dean Franckaert for designing and implementing a school outreach program.