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2.  Incidence of invasive aspergillosis following remission–induction chemotherapy for acute leukemia: a retrospective cohort study in a single Canadian tertiary care centre 
CMAJ Open  2014;2(2):E86-E93.
The decision to use universal primary antimould prophylaxis to prevent invasive aspergillosis in patients with acute leukemia depends on the incidence of infection at individual centres. We determined our institution’s incidence of invasive aspergillosis among patients who received remission–induction chemotherapy for acute leukemia to evaluate the potential benefits of primary antimould prophylaxis.
We conducted this retrospective cohort study at a Canadian tertiary care centre. From the central pharmacy registries, we retrieved records for all adult patients for whom remission–induction chemotherapy for acute leukemia was prescribed between 2008 and 2010. We retrieved clinical, microbiologic, pathologic and radiologic data from the patients’ medical charts. The primary outcome was a diagnosis of probable or proven invasive aspergillosis up to 180 days after resolution of aplasia.
We retrieved records for 123 patients with acute leukemia. Twenty-two of these patients did not receive the prescribed chemotherapy and were excluded from the analysis. Of the 101 patients included, 77 (76.2%) had acute myeloid leukemia. Overall, 136 courses of chemotherapy were administered, with more than 1 course administered to 26 (25.7%) of the 101 patients. In 9 of the patients (8.9%; 95% confidence interval 4.2%–16.2%), invasive aspergillosis was diagnosed (3 proven and 6 probable cases) a median of 19 (range 11–34) days after initiation of chemotherapy. In 7 (78%) of these 9 patients, invasive aspergillosis occurred during the first course of chemotherapy. Three patients died within the first year after diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis.
We found a high incidence (8.9%) of invasive aspergillosis at our centre. This finding triggered the introduction of targeted antimould prophylaxis for patients with acute leukemia who were undergoing remission–induction chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4114061  PMID: 25077134
3.  Variation in factor B (BF) and complement component 2 (C2) genes is associated with age-related macular degeneration 
Nature genetics  2006;38(4):458-462.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of irreversible blindness in developed countries1,2. Variants in the factor H gene (CFH, also known as HF1), which encodes a major inhibitor of the alternative complement pathway, are associated with the risk for developing AMD3–8. Here we test the hypothesis that variation in genes encoding other regulatory proteins of the same pathway is associated with AMD. We screened factor B (BF) and complement component 2 (C2) genes, located in the major histo-compatibility complex class III region, for genetic variation in two independent cohorts comprising ~900 individuals with AMD and ~400 matched controls. Haplotype analyses identify a statistically significant common risk haplotype (H1) and two protective haplotypes. The L9H variant of BF and the E318D variant of C2 (H10), as well as a variant in intron 10 of C2 and the R32Q variant of BF (H7), confer a significantly reduced risk of AMD (odds ratio = 0.45 and 0.36, respectively). Combined analysis of the C2 and BF haplotypes and CFH variants shows that variation in the two loci can predict the clinical outcome in 74% of the affected individuals and 56% of the controls. These data expand and refine our understanding of the genetic risk for AMD.
PMCID: PMC2921703  PMID: 16518403
4.  Risk for HIV-1 Infection Associated With a Common CXCL12 (SDF1) Polymorphism and CXCR4 Variation in an African Population 
CXC chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12), or stromal cell–derived factor 1 (SDF1), is the only known natural ligand for the HIV-1 coreceptor, CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4). A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the CXCL12 gene (SDF1-3′A) has been associated with disease progression to AIDS in some studies, but not others. Mutations in the CXCR4 gene are generally rare and have not been implicated in HIV-1/AIDS pathogenesis. This study analyzed the SDF1-3′A SNP and performed mutation screening for polymorphic markers in the CXCR4 gene to determine the presence or absence of significant associations with susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. The study consisted of 257 HIV-1–seropositive patients and 113 HIV-1–seronegative controls representing a sub-Saharan African population belonging to the Xhosa ethnic group of South Africa. The SDF1-3′A SNP was associated with an increased risk for HIV-1 infection (P = 0.0319) whereas no significant association was observed between the occurrence of the SDF1-3′A SNP and increased or decreased plasma levels of CXCL12. Comprehensive mutation analysis of the CXCR4 gene confirmed a high degree of genetic conservation within the coding region of this ancient population.
PMCID: PMC1369993  PMID: 16284526
CXC chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12); CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4); SDF1-3′A single-nucleotide polymorphism; HIV-1 infection risk; African population
5.  Extended Haplotypes in the Complement Factor H (CFH) and CFH-related (CFHR) Family of Genes that Protect against Age-related Macular Degeneration: Identification, Ethnic Distribution and Evolutionary Implications 
Annals of medicine  2006;38(8):592-604.
Variants in the complement factor H gene (CFH) are associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). CFH and five CFH-related genes (CFHR1-5) lie within the regulators of complement activation (RCA) locus on chromosome 1q32.
Aims and Methods
In this study, we refined the structural and evolutionary relationships between these genes and AMD using a combined molecular and immunohistochemical approach.
We identify and characterize a large, common deletion that encompasses both the CFHR1 and CFHR3 genes. CFHR1, an abundant serum protein, is absent in subjects homozygous for the deletion. Analysis of AMD cases and controls from two cohorts demonstrates that deletion homozygotes comprise 1.1% of cases and 5.7% of the controls ( 2=32.8; P=1.6 E-09). CFHR1 and CFHR3 transcripts are abundant in liver, but undetectable in the ocular RPE/choroid complex. AMD-associated CFH/CFHR1/CFHR3 haplotypes are widespread in human populations.
The absence of CFHR1 and/or CFHR3 may account for the protective effects conferred by some CFH haplotypes. Moreover, the high frequencies of the 402H allele and the delCFHR1/CFHR3 alleles in African populations suggest an ancient origin for these alleles. The considerable diversity accumulated at this locus may be due to selection, which is consistent with an important role for the CFHR genes in innate immunity.
PMCID: PMC1905836  PMID: 17438673
Age-related macular degeneration; vision; Factor H; Factor H-related; complement; alternative pathway; deletion; haplotype; evolution

Results 1-5 (5)