Wednesday, June 27, 2007

W.U. wins right to keep cancer research samples

From St. Louis Post, Robert Patrick, June 21, 2007.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis upheld U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh's ruling last year that thousands of "genito-urinary" samples donated to Washington University's GU Biorepository could not be transferred. ...........
Dr. Larry Shapiro, dean of the Washington University School of Medicine, said the decision was of "national import," and would allow other institutions to move forward with creating their own repositories. The American Cancer Society and a number of universities had filed legal briefs in support.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Parents support genetic testing, DNA biobanks - even without available treatments.

From Child Health and Evaluation Research (CHEAR) Unit: U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

UMHS Press Release:
Parents support genetic testing, DNA biobanks - even without available treatments.
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health finds 54% of parents endorse genetic testing even for diseases with no available treatments.

CHEAR - National Poll on Children's Health
C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, Vol. 1, Issue 4; June 20, 2007

A publication from the University of Michigan Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and the University of Michigan Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit.

DNA Biobanks and Genetic Testing - For Whom, and When?
Report Highlights
* 54% of adults endorsed genetic testing even if no effective treatment is available.
* 38% of parents were willing to have their children’s DNA stored in a government biobank.
* Adults were more likely to store DNA in a government biobank if they support genetic testing for diseases despite the lack of available effective treatment.

Data Source
This report presents findings from a nationally representative household survey conducted exclusively by Knowledge Networks, Inc, for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The survey was administered from March 14-26, 2007, to a randomly selected, stratified group of adults aged 18 and older (n=2,076) with and without children from the Knowledge Networks standing panel that closely resembles the U.S. population.

PredictER Note: SEE ALSO "Storing and Testing Children's DNA". Eye on DNA, June 20, 2007.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Korea’s NIH Initiates Genome-Wide Association Study

From GEN News Highlights, Jun 12 2007.

Republic of Korea's NIH (KNIH) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention will use the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 5.0 for the Korean Association REsource (KARE) project. This genome-wide association study is designed to identify the genetic causes of lifestyle-related complex diseases that are prevalent in Korea.

PredictER Note: SEE related content, Michael White's blog entry reviewing the efficacy of Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS); "Genome-wide Association Studies - Are the Long-Promised Benefits of the Human Genome Project on the Horizon?" Adaptive Complexity, June 13, 2007.

SNP Combinations Predict Parkinson’s Disease

From GEN News Highlights, June15 2007.

A Mayo Clinic study provides evidence that explains why some people get Parkinson’s disease and predicts at what age they may develop their first symptoms. The researchers found that the joint effects of common DNA variations in several genes that encode proteins within the axon guidance pathway determine whether or not someone will suffer from Parkinson’s.

“By examining a large cluster of related genes, we found patterns that make people up to 90 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than the average person,” says study co-author Timothy Lesnick, a Mayo Clinic biostatistician. “The size of the effects that we observed for genes within a pathway and the statistical significance of the predictive models were unprecedented.”

PredictER Note: SEE Lesnik TG, et al. 2007. A Genomic Pathway Approach to a Complex Disease: Axon Guidance and Parkinson Disease. PLoS Genet 3(6): e98 doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030098

Consultation paper on proposed Equality Bill for Great Britain

From the PHG Foundation Newsletter, 14 June 2007. Stewart, Alison. “Discrimination Law Review outlines proposals for a single Equality Bill for Great Britain”:

Genetic predisposition to disease is considered specifically. The consultation paper proposes there should be no specific legislative prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of genetic predisposition. It notes that there have been very few documented cases of unfair discrimination against people with a genetic predisposition to disease, and that current non-legislative provisions such as the voluntary moratorium on the use of genetic test results in insurance underwriting, and the Information Commissioner’s code of practice for use of genetic test results by employers, appear to be working satisfactorily. It also rejects the suggestion that people with a genetic predisposition to disease should be considered ‘disabled’ while they are still asymptomatic.

However, the paper does endorse the view that “no-one should be unfairly discriminated against on the basis of their genetic characteristics” and proposes that the situation should be kept under review, with the possibility of further non-legislative measures being introduced in the future if justified by the emergence of any evidence of unfair discrimination.

[PredictER Note: SEE Chapter 8.23-8.31, “The Grounds of Discrimination: Genetic predisposition” IN A Framework for Fairness: Proposals for a Single Equality Bill for Great Britain. Discrimination Law Review. London: Department for Communities and Local Government (, June 2007.]

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Presentations from the NHGRI Science Reporters’ Seminar on Genome-Wide Association Studies

from National Humane Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Retrieved 14 June 2007 from

NHGRI Holds Science Reporters' Seminar on Genome-Wide Association Studies

Bethesda, Md., May 1, 2007 - The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) offered a seminar on Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) to leading science reporters from major media around the United States. Genome-Wide Association Studies have been possible only in the last two years since the completion of the International HapMap Project in October 2005 and the development of several new technology platforms that have dramatically reduced the cost of genotyping, a kind of scan across a person's entire genome that seeks out genetic variation. Now, numerous research teams will be reporting results on common disease, ranging from heart disease to cancer to mental illnesses and diabetes.

In the seminar, NHGRI experts in this new field explain how the science works, how it will speed up the understanding of the genetics of common diseases, and how that will lead to the development of new diagnostics, preventives and therapeutics.

PredictER Note:

Site includes links to video and slide presentations from the conference:

Welcome and Introduction. Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.; Director, National Human Genome Research Institute

Human Heredity and Environment: Nature and Nurture. Emily Harris, M.P.H., Ph.D.; Epidemiologist, Office of Population Genomics

Genetic Variation. Larry Brody, Ph.D.; Senior Investigator, Genome Technology Branch.

Genome-Wide Association Studies. Teri Manolio, M.D., Ph.D.; Senior Advisor to the Director for Population Genomics

Common Disease Findings. Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.; Director, National Human Genome Research Institute

Genetic Influence on Human Traits and Behaviors. Elaine Ostrander, Ph.D.; Chief and Senior Investigator, Cancer Genetics Branch

Genetics and Race. Vence Bonham, J.D.; Senior Advisor to the Director on Societal Implications of Genomics