Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Signatures Predict Interferon Response For Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Date:
February 4, 2005
Source:
Public Library Of Science
Summary:
MS flare-ups are commonly treated with beta-interferon. Adverse effects are not uncommon, and, more importantly, a sizable proportion of patients show a reduced response, or no response at all. In a new study, Sergio Baranzini et al. describe a computational model that can predict a patient's therapeutic response to interferon based on their gene expression profiles.

Expression levels of three genes in beta-interferon responders (red) and non-responders (blue). (Graphic courtesy of Public Library Of Science)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be an unpredictable disease. It develops when the body's immune system attacks healthy nerve cells and disrupts normal nerve signaling. Patients experience a wide range of symptoms—including tingling, paralysis, pain, fatigue, and blurred vision—that can appear independently or in combination, sporadically or persistently. Although symptoms appear in no particular order, flare-ups are common in the majority of patients.

MS flare-ups are commonly treated with beta-interferon. Adverse effects are not uncommon, and, more importantly, a sizable proportion of patients show a reduced response, or no response at all. Given the variability of the disease and treatment response, being able to predict how a particular patient is likely to respond to interferon would help doctors decide how close to monitor the patient or even whether to consider alternative treatments. In a new study, Sergio Baranzini et al. describe a computational model that can predict a patient's therapeutic response to interferon based on their gene expression profiles.

Immune cells typically secrete interferons to fend off viruses and other pathogens. Interferons stem viral infection by inhibiting cell division in neighboring cells—thus preventing the virus from reproducing—and triggering pathways that kill the infected cells. It's thought that interferon therapy may relieve symptoms associated with MS by correcting imbalances in the immune system that lead to disease. Interferon therapy produces changes in the gene expression profile of targeted cells—that is, it inhibits or activates certain genes—which in turn alters the cells' activity.

Blood samples were taken from 52 patients with relapsing-remitting MS (marked by acute flare-ups followed by partial or full recovery), and their RNA was isolated from a class of immune cells called peripheral blood mononuclear cells. After patients started interferon therapy, blood was taken at specific time points over the course of two years. Baranzini et al. measured the expression level of 70 genes—including a number involved in interferon interactions and immune regulation—at each time point.

The authors used statistical analyses to search for gene expression profiles that were associated with patients' therapeutic outcomes. They looked for patterns in analyses of single genes, gene pairs, and gene triplets, and found their model's predictive accuracy increased with gene number. They also looked for genes that showed different expression patterns over the two years based on patient response, time passed, and patient response over time. These analyses identified genes that increased activity independently of clinical response (interferon can activate genes that have no effect on disease), as well as genes that were associated with a good or poor response. Some of these genes were also the best predictors of patient response before therapy was started.

This approach can predict the probability of a good or poor clinical response with up to 86% accuracy. Baranzini et al. offer hypotheses to explain how the observed gene activity might produce the differential responses to therapy—for example, a poor response may stem from downstream signaling events rather than from problems with drug metabolism. But the authors caution that the mechanisms connecting these genetic signatures to specific outcomes—and the mechanisms that produce a positive interferon response—have yet to be established. For now, these patterns should be thought of as markers. Still, these results suggest that doctors could one day tailor MS patients' treatments to their molecular profile, and perhaps take some of the uncertainty out of this capricious disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library Of Science. "Gene Signatures Predict Interferon Response For Multiple Sclerosis Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050201192041.htm>.
Public Library Of Science. (2005, February 4). Gene Signatures Predict Interferon Response For Multiple Sclerosis Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050201192041.htm
Public Library Of Science. "Gene Signatures Predict Interferon Response For Multiple Sclerosis Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050201192041.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins