Protein helps anemia research

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By The Associated Press

PORTLAND - The discovery of a new protein has improved understanding of how Fanconi anemia breaks down healthy cells and makes its victims more susceptible to leukemia and other forms of cancer, researchers say.

Fanconi anemia is a rare genetic disorder caused when a child inherits copies of a defective or mutated gene from both parents.

A parent can be a carrier of one copy of the defective gene without suffering any health effects.

Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University found that the newly discovered protein, PHF9, can disable the network of proteins that appear critical for many cellular functions, including repair of damaged DNA, blood development and fertility.

The protein is believed to trigger activation of another protein discovered in February 2001 by Dr. Markus Grompe, a researcher at the university who specializes in molecular genetics and pediatrics.

The study appeared last week in the online edition of the journal Nature Genetics and will appear in the print edition next month.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company