Our Recent Grant Award:
2018 Stanford PANS Clinic $75,000
Jennifer Frankovich, MD, MS, observed that PANS patients in flare have more monocytes (a type of white blood cell) in their blood, and the monocytes rise and fall with the patients’ symptoms.
Elizabeth Mellins, MD, went on to study these cells in the laboratory and found that they express certain proteins on their surface that distinguish them as a special subset of monocytes.
This finding has opened the way for further exploration into the complex role monocytes play in inflammation. Monocytes are adaptable, and a given cell’s gene expression reveals its task. Because some monocytes may be tasked with driving inflammation while others are tasked with tamping it down, only a cell-by-cell look at gene expression — which genes are active in a specific cell — can tell the whole story. This is Dr. Mellins’ next step, and it will require the use of RNA-seq, a new cell-by-cell genomic screening method that promises to take our understanding of disease states to the next level. Developed at Stanford, RNA-seq has quickly become a state-of-the-art research method.