Sunday, April 7, 2024

Study reveals genetic variant linked to increased risk of leukemia in Hispanic/Latino children

The Kreck School of Medicine of USC write that a genetic variant associated with a higher risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has been in found in Hispanic and Latino children. This information was brought forth by researchers from the Kreck School of Medicine at USC. The variant is located on the IKZF1 gene and increases the risk of ALL by 1.4 times. The variant is found more frequently in Hispanic/Latino children. The study used fine-mapping analysis to identify the variant. 

There are three independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that leads to a higher risk of ALL and one of them is more commonly found in Hispanic/Latino populations when comparing it to non-Hispanic white populations. One experiment analyzed chromatin accessibility, a test which indicates how fully a given gene can be expressed. The researchers found that the risk variant reduced chromatin accessibility, preventing IKZF1 proteins from being fully expressed. The new insights about IKZF1 bring researchers one step closer to developing effective screening tools to predict who may develop ALL, but more research is needed. In addition, the findings provide important clues about potential ways to treat the disease, for instance by progressing B-cell development after it stalls. With this research scientists hope to find an explanation as to why Hispanic/Latinos are more at risk of having ALL than those who are non-Hispanic white. 

As somebody who is Hispanic learning this information about how Hispanic/Latino children are more at a risk for ALL is frightening. There are a lot of diseases out there that affect other populations more than the white population. However, it’s less known because for a logn time medicine focused on the white population and just recently we are discovering that other populations are at higher risks for certain diseases. 

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