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Platelet E-News – May 16, 2003

This e-newsletter is a monthly publication of The Platelet Disorder Support Association. The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. For advice on your unique medical condition, please consult a health care professional.


  • Monoclonal IgG: Some Good News
  • Mind Body Medicine Shown Effective
  • Autoimmune Disease and Genetics
  • Celebrating the Double Helix Discovery
  • Chromosome 7 Shows Disease Relationships
  • Want to Know More about the Genome?
  • Herbal Treatment (advertisement)
  • How much time does your intravenous (IV) therapy take? (advertisement)



Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a limited resource, expensive, and since it is a blood product, carries some risks. These qualifications make finding a substitute very attractive. Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto experimented with various monoclonal IgG antibodies using mice with ITP hoping they could find one that worked in a similar way to IVIg. The good news….they found a monoclonal IgG antibody (anti-CD24) that improved the thrombocytopenia of ITP mice.

From “Blood”, 1 May 2003- Vol. 101, No. 9. See:

(Note: Dr. John Freedman, one of the researchers involved in this study, will be speaking at our conference. Our ITP Conference 2003 will be held June 20-22 in Rosemont, IL. See for more information )


In a literature review of mind-body interventions such as relaxation, meditation, imagery, biofeedback, and hypnosis researchers concluded that there is significant evidence of their efficacy in the treatment of some common diseases. They concluded “There is considerable evidence that an array of mind-body therapies can be used as an adjunct to conventional medical treatment for a number of common clinical conditions.”

Because of time constraints the authors did not examine more body based approaches such as yoga and tai-chi chuan.


(Note: There has been no specific research examining the efficacy of mind-body interventions for ITP. However, our survey showed that several hold promise. See


Following work that analyzed the genetic makeup of patients with various autoimmune diseases and finding 18 overlapping clusters, researchers at the Center for Genomics and Human Genetics at the North Shore Long Island Jewish Research Institute have initiated a project to identify the genes that some autoimmune diseases have in common. Of the 80 identified autoimmune diseases, they will look at the overlapping genetics in 8 of them. Since the same autoimmune disease can vary considerably, the genetic study can help identify the various ways the disease is characterized and potentially lead to more directed treatment.

Unique disease subclasses can arise as various genetic and environmental elements interact. Frederick Miller, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is enrolling twins and siblings for a large study hoping to get a list of environmental factors that effect disease prognosis. They will assess factors like infectious agents, drugs, vaccines, foods, solvents, stress, and others.

(Note: Representatives from PDSA will be working with the director of NIEHS to determine how PDSA can become involved in this work)

Thanks to Enrique Gonzales Vergara, PhD for sending this article.


Thousands of scientists and lay people gathered in Washington, DC the week of April 13, 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Watson’s and Francis Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA.

Coinciding with the celebration, an international six-country consortium of scientists declared that deciphering the genome, the pieces of the DNA, is now complete. The sequencing is just the beginning. Now scientists will be able to identify the approximately 30,000 proteins encoded in the genes and characterize their interactions inside cells and among cells.

With the genome as a tool, researchers may be better able to predict the result of treatments, identify risks, and separate the interaction between genetic and non-genetic factors. This new knowledge will have the potential for preventing or mitigating disease and providing more targeted treatments.

Increased genetic information raises many questions for patients and doctors such as “Does a patient have a duty to warn family members?”, “Will the identification of genetic risk lead to life style change?”, “How can we distinguish from useful and non-useful genetic information?” Genome research also prompts policy questions such as “Can genetic labeling be avoided?” and “How can fair and equitable access to the technology be assured?”

There are many obvious things to learn from the 50-year DNA journey. Some not-so-obvious gleanings are that Watson and Crick didn’t know much about chemistry, although they solved what was essentially a chemistry problem. They were two very good friends who beat two other teams characterized by contentious relationships. Acceptance of their results was slow. Even five years after their results were published may doubted or ignored their work.


A new map of chromosome 7 shows the location of 440 disease-related rearrangements, places where the DNA has shifted. This new map is part of a larger project to represent chromosome abnormalities, genes, and mutations associated with specific diseases. Chromosome 7 is the largest human chromosome to be sequenced and refined to a high degree of accuracy. The work was completed with the help of some 90 researchers around the world.



You can find out more about the genome project and the DNA discovery in: