Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engineering Technique Can Identify Disease-causing Genes

Date:
October 31, 2008
Source:
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Summary:
Scientists believe that complex diseases such as schizophrenia, major depression and cancer are not caused by one, but a multitude of dysfunctional genes.

Scientists believe that complex diseases such as schizophrenia, major depression and cancer are not caused by one, but a multitude of dysfunctional genes. A novel computational biology method developed by a research team led by Ali Abdi, PhD, associate professor in NJIT's department of electrical and computer engineering, has found a way to uncover the critical genes responsible for disease development.

"We see our research developing a novel technology holding high promises for finding key molecules that contribute to human diseases and for identifying critical targets in drug development," said Abdi. "The key to success was our collaboration among researchers with different backgrounds in engineering and medical sciences."

The scientists analyzed large cellular molecular networks whose dysfunction contributed to the development of certain complex human disorders. Molecules--genes or proteins—communicate through interconnected pathways via different biochemical interactions, explained Abdi. Through these interactions, molecules propagate regulatory signals. The function of cells in the body is vulnerable to the dysfunction of some molecules within a cell. "In other words," he added, "different diseases may arise from the dysfunction of one or several molecules within an interconnected network system."

To better understand how dysfunctional molecules pass on their problems and which ones are key players, the scientists developed a novel, biologically-driven vulnerability assessment method. This novel algorithm is capable of calculating the vulnerability levels of all molecules in a network. Using a computer, they analyzed the vulnerability of several signaling networks.

"We found few molecules with the highest vulnerability level," said Ali. "Nevertheless, we observed that if each of these molecules failed to function, the entire molecular network would not work." These critical molecules, he said, also held the key to better and more effective treatments. "By understanding their roles and functions better, we would be able to develop more effective treatments for complex disorders with such unknown molecular basis," Abdi said. "Many mental illnesses fall within this category."

Effat Emamian, MD, founder and CEO of Advanced Technologies for Novel Therapeutics, a start-up company in NJIT's business incubator, and Mehdi Tahoori, assistant professor at Northeastern University, contributed to the research.

"In the field of medical research, we face enormous challenges for finding the causes and curative treatments for complex human disorders" said Emamian, whose research focuses on mental disorders. "We believe that complex human disorders, such as cancer, different mental disorders and some neurodegenerative disorders, are not caused by a single gene but rather many. Our most important task is to figure out which genes are critical for disease development and which molecules are the most promising therapeutic targets."

Tahoori noted that it was exciting to see how circuit engineering research can contribute to finding the possible causes and treatments of complex human diseases. "Modeling a problem in a different domain and using tools, methods, and techniques available in the other modeling domain can lead to breakthrough solutions for the original problem," he said. "This is what cross-disciplinary research is all about."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New Jersey Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fault Diagnosis Engineering of Digital Circuits Can Identify Vulnerable Molecules in Complex Cellular Pathways. Science Signaling, (in press)

Cite This Page:

New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Engineering Technique Can Identify Disease-causing Genes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081028184820.htm>.
New Jersey Institute of Technology. (2008, October 31). Engineering Technique Can Identify Disease-causing Genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081028184820.htm
New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Engineering Technique Can Identify Disease-causing Genes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081028184820.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. 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:
from the past week

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