Genetics

Town Shares Its DNA, a Lung Cancer Study Begins, and a New Orphan Drug Gets Approval

By Rhonda Reinhart

The former textile mill in Kannapolis, North Carolina, is now the site of a research complex.

A North Carolina town gives its DNA to science: This Pacific Standard story tells the tale of Kannapolis, North Carolina. The former mill town is now home to a research complex where townspeople have been taking part in a wide range of scientific studies. One such project is the MURDOCK Study, which aims to collect DNA from 50,000 community members in an effort to find links between genes, lifestyle, and chronic disease.

New clinical study looks into causes of lung cancer in young people: With the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer study, which just launched this week, researchers hope to understand why young adults get lung cancer, even though they don’t smoke, are often athletic, and don’t exhibit any of the genetic mutations known to cause lung cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there are 400,000 people with lung cancer in the United States, and 8,000 of those are under the age of 45.

FDA approves drug to treat swelling disease: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved orphan drug Ruconest to target hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disease that can cause acute attacks of swelling in the face, hands, feet, limbs, and intestinal tract. It can also cause swelling in the airway, which can be fatal if not immediately treated. Low levels of a plasma protein called C1-esterase inhibitor cause the disease. Ruconest increases the amount of the protein to a normal and functional level.