GNOBB would like to congratulate member of the GNOBB executive committee, Dr. Talat Nasim and his team for their recent discovery of an important biomarker for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). A team led by Dr. Talat Nasim from University of Bradford has identified this early stage marker for PAH which is caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the lungs, leading high blood pressure, often followed by heart failure. There is no age limit for this disease and it affects around 6500 people in the UK with a high therapeutic cost. Their study has been published in the February 2019 issue of the journal "Human Mol Genetics".
In earlier studies it was shown that mutations in the BMPR-II gene regulates this disease using two mechanisms. The first one is excessive reproduction of cells forming the artery wall leading to the lungs and the other one is the reduction of apoptosis or cell death. The team identified a particular protein called "Bcl-x" which is responsible for making 2 different proteins which work in balance to regulate cell death; one increasing apoptosis and other reducing it. A mutation in the BMPR-II causes an increase in the protein for reducing apoptosis, preventing the cell death. This protein can be used as a biomarker to accurately identify PAH in patients in early stage and early diagnosis and treatment means better outcomes for the patients. The team includes researchers from University of Cambridge (UK), University of Dhaka (Bangladesh), Center for Health Agricultural and Socio Economic Advancements (CHASA, Bangladesh) and Hacettepe University (Turkey) and Kings College London (UK). Dr Nasim's team has filed a patent for the biomarker and is currently investigating its potentiality as a novel drug.
Dr. Nasim is working on many promising compounds that being developed and tested in animal model. He has offered his kind cooperation if any GNOBB members wish to collaborate and/or seek his advice in the areas of drug discovery, biomarker discovery and molecular genetics. They are welcome to contact him directly. To read the full paper, use the link (https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddz047).Their paper has been highlighted in substantial news editorials.