Fall 2001 - Volume 12, No 4

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Faculty Members Launch Wayne State University Physician Group


Students Help Students


WSU Establishes Premier Nanobiotechnology Center in Midwest


Improving Survival for Obese Breast Cancer Patients


Distinguished Professor Honored by American Hemophilia Foundation


Genetic Studies Underway for Inherited Aneurysms


Scientific Computing Program Offers Training in New Skill Sets


WSU School of Medicine Graduates 228 New Doctors


Assistant Dean Leads International Efforts for WSU School of Medicine


State Funding May Boost Perinatal Research at WSU


New Chair of Radiology's Work Could Reduce Need for Hysterectomies


Heart Attack Patients with Normal ECGs Can Have Adverse Outcomes


Multiple Sclerosis Research Focuses on Axons


Researcher Leads International Health Efforts in West Africa


Dr. Gray to Lead Graduate Medical Education Programs for WSU, DMC


New Urologist Offers Incontinence Treatment


Ceremony Welcomes 256 New Medical Students


Graduate Student Wins National Award


African-American Physician Honored for Her Career-Long Achievements


New Medical Students Learn to Celebrate Differences and Understand Similarities


Anti-Tobacco Crusader and Movie Star Visit WSU School of Medicine


Dr. Gallagher Recognized for Service as Academic Senate President


WSU Hosts Conference on African-American Health


Minority Research Day Honors Graduate, Undergraduate Students


Program Offers Research Opportunities to Local High School Students


$1 Million Pledged for Biomedical Department


The Wayne State University School of Medicine Welcomes the Class of 2005


New Graduate Students Welcomed


Training Researchers in Genomics


WSU's Blaine White Elected to Prestigious Institute of Medicine

Genetic Studies Underway for Inherited Aneurysms

Antti Ronkainen (left), a neurosurgeon from Finland, visited WSU to get genetics training for the intracranial aneurysm studies that are underway with Drs. S. Helena Kuivaniemi and Gerard Tromp.

The progress made by Helena Kuivaniemi is remarkable, given the elusive nature of her subject. Dr. Kuivaniemi is performing genetic research related to candidate genes for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Why is this a problem? First, AAAs rarely produce symptoms until they rupture, and then survival rates are very low. Furthermore, few individuals develop aneurysms before the age of 50, and although aneurysms are hereditary, by the time an individual has been diagnosed, his or her parents have generally died and the children are still too young to be tested, making familial studies difficult.

Dr. Kuivaniemi has used scientific means to work around these problems and she is part of a national network gathering data to help families who may carry candidate genes for aneurysms. Her goal is to localize the chromosomal regions likely to harbor the AAA susceptibility genes. She collects DNA from AAA sibling-pair patients and their relatives and performs genetic linkage analysis using highly polymorphic markers from the promising regions. The goal is to identify the gene or genes that harbor mutations in patients with aneurysms.

“A familial tendency to develop aneurysms is well documented in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms, but the genetic basis for this predisposition is unknown,” Dr. Kuivaniemi said. “There is an urgent need to study this problem because it occurs with no warning and few people are screened for it.”

An aneurysm is a balloon-like swelling in the wall of a weakened blood vessel. The chances of surviving a ruptured aneurysm are poor, but elective surgery can be performed if the aneurysm is caught early through regular ultrasound screening. Now that scientists have recognized this as an inherited disorder, more work is being done around the country. Wayne State University is one of seven centers funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for aneurysm research.

While Dr. Kuivaniemi studies abdominal aortic aneurysms, her husband, Dr. Gerard Tromp studies intracranial aneurysms. They are looking for families to participate in their collaborative genetic studies by filling out a family history questionnaire, donating a small blood sample, and agreeing to be part of a national patient registry. For more information, visit their website at http://cmmg.biosci.




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