In 2012, Dr. Tirgan, with support and collaboration with Dr. Anne Bowcock who at the time was at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, intiated KRF's first genomic study. Blood samples from 65 keloid patients and/or their family members were obtained and sent for DNA sequencing. Since then, Dr. Bowcock has relocated to Mount Sinai in New York, allowing for renewal of this study and collection of blood samples from more volunteers.
Genomic research is the most innovative methodology in medical research. Normal human genome, that is the genetic anatomy of human genes, was studies and mapped several years ago. By present estimates, humans have approximately 20,000-25,000 genes. This research continues full speed to map out the genes within cancer tissue. Several cancers have been studied in this manner.
The Cancer Genome Atlas, a large and federally funded project aims eventually to catalog all major cancer-causing genomic alterations; performing a range of studies, including DNA copy number, gene expression, DNA methylation, and many other analyses of the genes of cancer tissues. These studies have proven that within each cancer, there are several genes that are over-activated and others that are suppressed. Learning functions of these genes, and how they interplay with the growth of cancer cells has allowed development of treatment strategies which are already helping cancer patients.
KRF is committed to apply the same technology to keloid and broaden our understanding of genetic makeup of this disease; and hopefully find targets that can be treated with existing or future medicines. Our planned tissue bank for keloids will provide the material needed for this research.
Accelerated methods for studying the three-dimensional structure of proteins, including those proteins that serve as targets for drugs against disease, are likely to have profound effects on approaches to treatment of keloid.