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Why are African-American patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) less likely to be placed on waiting lists for kidney transplantation? It's not because they live farther away from transplant centers, reports a study being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 40th Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Francisco.

However, black patients who live in poorer neighborhoods are less likely to be placed on transplant waiting lists than white patients. "This finding warrants further exploration but suggests that racial disparity in the waitlisting process may indeed be a reflection of differential access to healthcare," comments Dr. Sandra Amaral of Emory University, co-author of the study.

For older patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the results of kidney transplants from "expanded criteria non-beating-heart" donors are not good, according to a paper presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 40th Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Francisco.

Led by Dr. Jagbir Gill of University of California Los Angeles, the researchers analyzed the outcomes of nearly 31,000 patients aged 60 or older who received deceased-donor kidney transplants in the United States between 1995 and 2006. Data for the study came from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS). The researchers compared the results of transplants from different types of donors:

A new study led by Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute senior scientist, Elizabeth Theil, Ph.D., is the first to suggest that a small protein or heptapeptide (seven amino acids wrapped into one unit) could be used to accelerate the removal of iron from ferritin. The results of this study may help scientists develop new medications that dramatically improve the removal of excess iron in patients diagnosed with blood diseases such as B-Thalassemia (Cooley's anemia) or Sickle Cell Disease.

The study appears in this month's issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and was conducted by Dr. Theil and her co-authors Xiaofeng S. Liu, postdoctoral fellow at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Marvin J. Miller, Ph.D. and Leslie D.

An international team of scientists today announced the results of a systematic effort to map the genetic changes underlying lung cancer, the world’s leading cause of cancer deaths.

The research provides a comprehensive view of the abnormal genetic landscape in lung cancer cells, revealing more than 50 genomic regions that are frequently gained or lost in human lung tumors. While one-third of these regions contain genes already known to play important roles in lung cancer, the majority harbor new genes yet to be discovered.

Inheriting two genetic mutations that can individually cause epilepsy might actually be “seizure-protective,” said Baylor College of Medicine researchers the journal Nature Neuroscience.

“In the genetics of the brain, two wrongs can make a right,” said Dr. Jeffrey L. Noebels, professor of neurology, neuroscience and molecular and human genetics at BCM. “We believe these findings have great significance to clinicians as we move toward relying upon genes to predict neurological disease.”

In addition, the finding might point the way to new ways of treating epilepsy using gene-directed therapy.

“If you have a potassium channel defect, then a drug blocking certain calcium channels might also benefit you,” said Noebels.

Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB)is a disease where children lack a protein that anchors skin to the body, resulting in fragile skin that tears off with little movement or friction. They suffer painful wounds and must be bandaged at all times to protect their skin from further damage and infection.

University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, Fairview physicians have performed the first bone marrow and cord blood transplant to treat RDEB.

The 18-month-old boy who was transplanted has the most severe form of RDEB, which also causes skin to slough off on the inside of the body, affecting the mouth, esophagus, and gastrointestinal tract. EB is genetic and severe forms are always fatal.