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Do fair and just systems require compensation for the disadvantages of the natural lottery? a discussion on society's duties on the provision of gene therapy

Abstract

Genetic diseases have been thought to be acquired as a result of sheer bad luck. However, recent advances in medical science have demonstrated the mechanisms of genetic disorders, which enable us to intervene with their occurrence and treatment. Today, gene therapy, once considered too risky, has become safer and can save the lives of patients with previously untreatable and lethal genetic diseases. However, the positive expectations from gene therapy are overshadowed by their extremely high prices. Thus, the duty of society in the provision of gene therapies has been frequently discussed. The discussions mainly focus on how to meet the genetic treatment needs of patients without violating the notion of justice and fairness in society. This study discusses the theoretical grounds for society's duty to compensate for genetic disease patients' disadvantages by providing them with appropriate genetic treatment. The main question is whether a fair and just system requires society to provide available lifesaving gene therapy to patients in need. The discussion is constructed on the crucial notion of the fair equal opportunity principle in a just system and the plausibility of including disadvantages emerging from bad luck in the natural lottery in the domain of justice.

Open access
Duplication of the SOX3 gene in an sry-negative 46,XX male with associated congenital anomalies of kidneys and the urinary tract: Case report and review of the literature

Abstract

Disorders of sex development (DSD) are a group of rare conditions characterized by discrepancy between chromosomal sex, gonads and external genitalia. Congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract are often associated with DSD, mostly in multiple malformation syndromes. We describe the case of an 11-year-old Caucasian boy, with right kidney hypoplasia and hypospadias. Genome-wide copy number variation (CNV) analysis revealed a unique duplication of about 550 kb on chromosome Xq27, and a 46,XX karyotype, consistent with a sex reversal phenotype. This region includes multiple genes, and, among these, SOX3 emerged as the main phenotypic driver. This is the fifth case reporting a genomic imbalance involving the SOX3 gene in a 46,XX SRY-negative male, and the first with associated renal malformations. Our data provide plausible links between SOX3 gene dosage and kidney malformations. It is noteworthy that the current and reported SOX3 gene duplications are below the detection threshold of standard karyotypes and were found only by analyzing CNVs using DNA microarrays. Therefore, all 46,XX SRY-negative males should be screened for SOX3 gene duplications with DNA microarrays.

Open access
Impact of genetics on neoadjuvant therapy with complete pathological response in metastatic colorectal cancer: Case report and review of the literature

Abstract

Treatment of colorectal metastatic cancer is still challenging, despite recent improvements in chemotherapy. A genetic cancer profile, such as the KRAS (Kirsten rat sarcoma) gene status, plays a key role in individualized tailored therapy. Molecular targeted therapy added to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy can achieve a better pathological response and prolong survival. Pathological complete response of colorectal cancer stage IV is rare. A 47-year-old female patient presented with rectal adenocarcinoma and three liver metastases (cT3d/4, N2, Ml). After seven cycles of Bevacizumab and CAPOX in neoadjuvant setting, we noted more than 70.0% regression of metastases and complete regression of the primary tumor. We performed low anterior resection of rectum and synchronous subsegmental resection of S3, because the other two lesions were not detectable. Pathology revealed complete response of the primary and also secondary tumors. After 8 months, diagnostic tests did not show any sign of recurrence and the remaining liver lesions disappeared. Colorectal cancer is a heterogeneous disease and it is necessary to identify patients who are at-risk of recurrence and suitable for neoadjuvant therapy. Genetic biomarkers play an important role in metastatic colorectal cancer treatment. Because of the mutated KRAS gene, Bevacizumab was added to cytotoxic therapy achieving a complete pathological response of primary tumor and metastasis. This case is unique because all reported cases with similar results, described staged surgery and one of reverse staged surgery, but with similar results. This neoadjuvant therapy has extraordinary results for colorectal cancer stage IV and can help disease-free and long-term survival.

Open access
Increased expression of pentraxin 3 in placental tissues from patients with unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss

Abstract

Pentraxin 3 (PTX3), a prototypical member of the long pentraxin subfamily, is a evolutionarily conserved multimeric pattern recognition receptor involved in the humoral component of the innate immune system. Pentraxin 3 is released when tissue is stressed or damaged, and interacts with many different ligands. Pentraxin 3 exerts a pivotal role both as a regulator and as an indicator of inflammatory response in the pathogenesis of many diseases such as sepsis, vasculitis and preeclampsia. Uncontrolled inflammatory response is considered a major cause of unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss (URPL). We determined the PTX3 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and protein expression levels in placentai tissues from 50 women with URPL, and made comparison with those in 50 age-matched control subjects. In quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry analyses, PTX3 mRNA and protein levels, respectively, were significantly increased in URPL patients compared with their respective controls (p = 0.0001). Although no significant correlations were identified between PTX3 expression levels and clinical parameters such as maternal age, numbers of previous pregnancy losses, and gestational age at miscarriage, PTX3 mRNA expression was significantly higher in patients with no live births than in women with previous live births (p = 0.0001). Our study suggests that tissue-specific expression of PTX3 is associated with URPL. Further larger studies are required to determine whether PTX3 expression can be used as a biomarker to manage URPL in routine clinical practice.

Open access
Janus kinase V617F mutation detection in patients with myelofibrosis

Abstract

Myelofibrosis (MF) is characterized by a presence of an extra fibrous tissue in the bone marrow and additional hematopoiesis. The somatic mutation in the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) gene (V617F) occurs gradually and is detected in about 50.0% of myelofibrosis or essential thrombo-cytopenia (ET) patients. Our aim was to determine the genotype status according to the carriers of the V617F mutation in patients with MF at the Hematology Ward of the University Hospital "Ivan Rilski" in Sofia, Bulgaria. DNA samples were isolated from venous blood of patients with various hematological disorders. DNA was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and subsequent restriction analysis was performed using a BsaXI restriction enzyme. The genotype status was determined on 2.0% agarose gel. We analyzed 38 patients initially suspected of carrying MF or osteomyelofibrosis (OMF). After trepanobiopsy, 20 out of 38 patients were confirmed as myelofibrotic (52.6%), 5/38 (13.2%) were diagnosed as ET, 1/38 (2.6%) was diagnosed as myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN), 6/38 (15.8%) had polycythemia vera (PV). In six patients, the presence of disease was rejected. Patients with MF were divided into three groups according to the JAK2 V617F genotype status: homozygous for the mutation (3/20 or 15.0%), heterozygous (9/20 or 45.0%) and homozygous for the wild type allele (8/20 or 40.0%). The triggering factor of MF is still unknown. It was considered that this factor could have a genetic nature. Mutations in three genes were mainly accepted as an actual predisposing events to this disease: point mutations leading to amino acid substitutions in JAK2 (V617F) and in MPL (W515L, W515K), as well as insertion or deletion in CALK We have proven that carriers of the V617F mutation prevailed in the group of patients with MF (altogether 12 patients or 60.0%). Previous studies also showed that JAK2 V617F is present in more than half of MF patients within their blood-forming cells. Therefore, the risk of evolution to MF could be associated with V617F-mutant allele burden in patients with MPN.

Open access
A novel c.973G>T mutation in the ε-subunit of the acetylcholine receptor causing congenital myasthenic syndrome in an iranian family

Abstract

Congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS) constitutes a group of inherited disorders of neuromuscular junctions. The majority of postsynaptic syndromes result from mutations in the CHRNE gene that causes muscle nicotine acetylcholine deficiency. In this study, we report on a 2 and a half-year-old boy with normal developmental milestones and bilateral ptosis. Clinical courses, electrophysiological studies and molecular genetic analysis were assessed. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and direct DNA sequencing of the CHRNE gene were performed for the proband and all the family members. A novel homozygous missense mutation of c.973G>T was found in the CHRNE gene. Segregation studies were suggested to be the genetic cause of the disease. Using three in silico tools and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics/Association for Molecular Pathology (ACMG/AMP) variant classification guidelines indicated that the novel variant c.973G>T was likely pathogenic. Our results recommended first screening of the CHRNE gene for pathogenic mutations in Iranian origin.

Open access
Novel patterns of the Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA-1) V-Val subtype in EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma from Vietnam

Abstract

The Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) gene, plays a key role in viral infection, immortalization, viral genome replication, transcription and maintenance, and is the frequently detected gene, protein in both latent and lytic stage of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Based on the amino acid at position 487, EBNA-1 was classified into five subtypes, including P-Ala, P-Thr, V-Val, V-Pro and V-Leu. In Vietnam, an Asian country with a high incidence, mortality rates of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), had limited research on the EBNA-1 variation. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to identify the pattern of the EBNA-1 V-Val subtype in Vietnamese NPC patients, for its value further applied in NPC patients. Fifty-eight NPC biopsy samples were collected from local patients, analyzed by nested-polymerase chain reaction (nested-PCR), sequencing and compared to a previous B95-8 prototype sequence. Four EBNA-1 subtypes, including V-Val (35/44, 79.55%), P-Ala (2/44, 4.55%), P-Thr (5/44, 11.36%), and V-Leu (2/44, 4.55%), were observed in 44/58 samples. The sequences of the V-Val subtype were compared to the B95-8 prototype, resulting in five patterns, contained seven consensus changes, including five amino acid changes at positions 487, 499, 502, 524, 594, and two silent changes at residues 520 and 553. Of these, four of five, patterns were identified as novel patterns of the V-Val subtype, showing the different changes of amino acids at positions 492, 528, 529, 553, 585 and 588, by comparison with previous studies of V-Val EBNA-1. Those data suggested the profile of variation patterns of the EBNA-1 gene, related to geographic distribution, in Vietnamese NPC patients.

Open access
Prenatal diagnosis of organic acidemias at a tertiary center

Abstract

The aim of this study was to share our experience in the prenatal diagnosis (PND) of organic acidemias (OAs) in our clinic. This study consisted of 10 cases in whom an invasive prenatal diagnostic test (IPNDT) was performed by a single physician for the PND of OAs. Median maternal age, parity, gestational week of IPNDT, prenatal test indications, OA types, method of IPNDT, IPNDT results and gestational outcomes were evaluated. Targeted mutation analysis was performed in fetal DNA for the specific mutations by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and direct Sanger sequencing. The diagnosis was confirmed by genetic targeted mutation analysis after birth. Median maternal age, parity and gestational week of IPNDT values were 30 (range 21-35), one (range 0-4) and 11.5 (range 11-17), respectively. Indications for IPNDT were mother being a carrier of the disease for one case (10.0%) and at least one child with OA in the family for nine cases (90.0%). Organic acidemia types investigated were maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) and isovaleric acidemia (IVA) in five (50.0%), three (30.0%) and two (20.0%) patients, respectively. Chorion villus sampling (CVS) was done in seven (70.0%) patients and amniocentesis was performed in three (30.0%) patients. Eight fetuses (80.0%) were found to be healthy and two fetuses (20.0%) were found to be affected (one case with IVA and one case with MMA). The two pregnancies (20.0%) with affected fetuses were terminated. Prenatal diagnosis of OAs is critical. Appropriate prenatal counseling should be given to families with known risk factors.

Open access
A systematic clinical review of prenatally diagnosed tetrasomy 9p

Abstract

Tetrasomy 9p was first described in 1973 and approximately 68 cases with a variable phenotype have been reported to date with 22 of them being detected prenatally. The objective of this study was to review prenatally-reported cases of tetrasomy 9p thus far and to identify ultrasound phenotypes that may be suggestive of this specific syndrome. A PubMed database search was done in February 2018 without any restriction of publication date orjournals, with the use of the following keywords: tetrasomy 9p, tetrasomy 9p prenatal, mosaic tetrasomy 9p, mosaic tetrasomy 9p prenatal, isochromosome 9p, duplication 9p prenatal, trisomy 9p prenatal. Reported cases were included if the clinical presentation and diagnostic approach of each case was clearly described. The most common characteristics of prenatally-detected tetrasomy 9p are intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR, 57.0%), central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities (59.0%), skeletal anomalies (29.0%), genitourinary and renal anomalies (29.0%) and cardiac defects (29.0%). The phenotypic spectrum of tetrasomy 9p is rather unspecific as these findings are commonly associated with other chromosome anomalies, as well as microdeletion/microduplication or monogenic syndromes. The combination of early fetal morphology and diagnostic genetic testing enables a definite tetrasomy 9p diagnosis and effective further pregnancy management.

Open access
Mammary Adenocarcinoma with Widespread Metastasis in a Lion (Panthera leo)

Abstract

A 15 year old female African lion (Panthera leo) was necropsied after its sudden death. The necropsy showed a mammary gland lesion measuring 10 cm in diameter and numerous white nodules with variable size in the liver, spleen, uterus, lungs and the heart. The histopathological examination showed that the neoplastic formation in the mammary region was a simple tubular carcinoma with metastases on the other organs. Upon immunohistochemical examination, the neoplastic cells expressed cytokeratins while the stroma of the tumour expressed vimentin. The proliferation index Ki-67 was moderate. Based on the macroscopic, histopathological and immunohistochemical findings, the neoplasia was diagnosed as a simple tubular mammary carcinoma.

Open access