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Nov 15, 2006

JHU Selects Illumina Technology to Study Asthma in African-America Population

  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in collaboration with researchers at the National Human Genome Center at Howard University will use Illumina’s Infinium® HumanHap650Y BeadChip for an asthma study of over 2,000 individuals and their families. "The identification of genes that contribute to a complex disease like asthma may lead to the development of enhanced diagnostic tools, early detection, and improved health outcomes for patients and their families," says Jay Flatley, Illumina president and CEO. "By using Illumina's HumanHap650Y BeadChip, which is specifically designed for the study of African populations, a unique opportunity exists to dramatically improve our understanding of the causes of asthma."

    The study will be led by Kathleen Barnes, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins and is supported by a recent grant from the NHLBI.
    Study subjects involve African-American volunteers from the Baltimore, Washington, D.C. area and African-Caribbean volunteers and their family members from Barbados. Although a number of genetic studies have been conducted for asthma, and several genes that are strongly associated with asthma have been identified, there has not been a systematic study looking at all of the possible genes in the human genome for asthma in this particular racial group, according to Illumina.

    Findings from this study will be compared to results from a similar project at the NHLBI in London, where a large genome-wide scan of English asthmatics and their families is already underway. Additional comparisons will be made with European American asthmatics that are part of ongoing genetic epidemiology studies at the Yale University School of Medicine.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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