You probably know your blood type: A, B, AB or O. You may even know if you're Rhesus positive or negative. But how about the Langereis blood type? Or the Junior blood type? Positive or negative? Most people have never even heard of these. Yet this knowledge could be "a matter of life and death, " says University of Vermont biologist Bryan Ballif. While blood transfusion problems due to Langereis and Junior blood types are rare worldwide, several ethnic populations are at risk, Ballif notes. "More than 50, 000 Japanese are thought to be Junior negative and may encounter blood transfusion problems or mother-fetus incompatibility, " he writes. But the molecular basis of these two blood types has remained a mystery - until now. In the February issue of Nature Genetics, Ballif and his colleagues report on their discovery of two proteins on red blood cells responsible for these lesser-known blood types.
A receptor found on blood platelets whose importance as a potential pharmaceutical target has long been questioned may in fact be fruitful in drug testing, according to new research from Michigan State University chemists. A team led by Dana Spence of MSU's Department of Chemistry has revealed a way to isolate and test the receptor known as P2X1. By creating a new, simple method to study it after blood is drawn, the team has unlocked a potential new drug target for many diseases that impact red blood cells, such as diabetes, hypertension and cystic fibrosis. Researchers can evaluate the receptor not only in developing new drugs but also re-testing existing medications that could work now by attaching to the receptor. "Scientists are always looking for new 'druggable' receptors in the human body, " Spence said.
The disparity in stroke-related deaths among black and white children dramatically narrowed after prevention strategies changed to include ultrasound screening and chronic blood transfusions for children with sickle cell anemia, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2012. Before stroke prevention efforts changed in 1998, black children were 74 percent more likely to die from ischemic strokes than white children. This gap is in part due to the increased rates of sickle cell anemia in black children. Between 1999 and 2007, that excess risk had dropped by almost two-thirds. Black children were 27 percent more likely to have ischemic strokes than white children, according to death certificate data for U.S. children who died of ischemic stroke from 1988 to 2007.
BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, developed single-cell genome sequencing technology and published two research papers for cancer single-cell sequencing in the research journal Cell. In the papers, which were published today in the same issue of Cell, BGI researchers applied their new single-cell sequencing (SCS) method to identify the genetic characteristics of essential thrombocythemia (ET, a kind of blood neoplasm) and clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC, a typical kidney cancer), and demonstrated that single cell analyses of highly heterogeneous tissues provide much clearer intratumoral genetic pictures and developmental history than previous bulk tissue sequencing. The availability of BGI's SCS method opens new ways for the genetic study of tumors at single nucleotide resolution, especially for those where it is difficult to identify key mutations by previous bulk tissue sequencing.
Clinicians from the University of Utah report the death of a patient who received a mild brain injury from a ground-level fall while taking the new anticoagulant dabigatran etexilate for non-valve related atrial fibrillation. The authors describe the events that led from a mild traumatic brain injury to the man's death, the largely irreversible dangers of massive hemorrhage from direct thrombin inhibitors such as dabigatran, and the few management options that can be used to counteract this "uncontrollable" bleeding. Their findings and suggestions can be found in the article "Neurosurgical complications of direct thrombin inhibitors - catastrophic hemorrhage after mild traumatic brain injury in a patient receiving dabigatran. Case report, " by Drs. Sarah Garber, Walavan Sivakumar, and Richard Schmidt, published online March 6 in the Journal of Neurosurgery.