Science Market Update

Utah Researchers Discovered Gene Variation in IFITM3 Associated With Kawasaki Disease

Posted by Anita Zhang on Wed, May 21, 2014

Professor of Pathology, John H. Weis, at the University of Utah School of Medicine analyzed the DNA of 140 patients with Kawasaki disease to discover that those with the genetic variation in the IFITM3 gene were significantly more likely to develop coronary artery lesions or enlargement. This discovery has significant implications on the understanding of Kawasaki disease and highly contributes to the global health improvement. 




Kawasaki disease is a condition that causes inflammation in the walls of medium-sized blood vessels throughout the body. The disease typically affects children under 5 years old and occurs in the United States in 10 of every 100,000 children. Kawasaki disease is most prevalent in children of Asian descent. The rate of diagnosis is also increasing each year. One in four children with untreated Kawasaki disease will develop coronary artery enlargement or aneurysms which can be fatal.

Previous research showed that a gene called IFITM3 is one of approximately 300 genes that contribute to the body’s defense against viral infections. A particular variant in the IFITM3 gene increases the risk of more severe viral infections.

Professor Weis’ research investigated whether the genetic variation in IFITM3 has a similar effect in Kawasaki disease. His research data suggests that viruses may be an important causative agent for Kawasaki disease or the coronary artery lesions associated with it.

In Professor Weis’ study, about 2/3 of participants whom are of Pacific Rim Asian descent had the IFITM3 gene variant but less than 5% of those of North American or Northern European descent had it. This may help explain why Asian children more often have Kawasaki disease. 

Professor Weis’ work will spur new research into the key genes and proteins involved in Kawasaki disease and will hopefully help doctors identify serious coronary artery complications and monitor patients closely.

Research is a major component in the life of the University of Utah. It is ranked 47th among 108 research universities in the United States, and 82nd among over 500 research universities in the world. Each year the University of Utah spends more than $377 million on research, and it received over $140 million of research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2013. 

Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is organizing the 14th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Utah on October 30th 2014 to help lab supply companies meet face-to-face with academic researchers in Salt Lake City. This event is for laboratory supply companies would like the opportunity to network with such a well-funded research institution. 

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The BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Utah provides the opportunity for laboratory supply companies to demonstrate their products and services to a broad audience of academic researchers and to boost their awareness of the best and newest tools and equipment in research.

Last year about 200 research professionals attended the BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Utah. 27% of these attendees were professors and laboratory managers. All of them were active research hands.

If you are a laboratory supply company and would like to participate in the BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Utah on October 30th 2014, please click the button below for more information about the Utah BioResearch Product Faire™ Event.


Visit Here to Get Info About  the University of Utah Event


If you are interesting in other BioResearch Product Faire™ Events at different institutions across the nation, please read the Show Schedule for 2014.


Tags: 2014, university of utah, UUtah, Northwest, , BioResearch Product Faire Event, Salt Lake City

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