It was on my birthday (September 3rd) that a news story broke that especially caught my attention.  Scientists from Bristol University had discovered how to ‘switch off’ the gene that causes various auto-immune conditions including Multiple Sclerosis and type A Diabetes.

Now, fully fledged and full-blown Pernicious Anaemia is of course an auto-immune disease and so I immediately contacted the lead scientist of the Bristol project who is Prof. David Wraith.  Professor Wraith invited me to visit him which I did on Tuesday of this week (2nd November).  It was a very productive meeting.  I explained that all that the Pernicious Anaemia Society could do to change the way in which we are diagnosed and treated is to ‘raise awareness’ among medical professionals of the problems we face in getting diagnosed quickly and treated adequately.  I explained about the new British Committee for Standards in Haematology (BCSH) Guidelines and that now the society’s focus was to concentrate on getting members of the society treated according to their individual needs.

“Well you are certainly doing a good job in raising awareness” David told me; “I hadn’t even considered Pernicious Anaemia as being part of the study and of course it is much more common than other diseases that we are looking at”.

My trip down the M4 had obviously paid off.

“What we as a team will do is now look for the genetic sequence of the gene that causes Pernicious Anaemia and hopefully we will find a way to switch that gene off”.heatmap-article

I’ve every reason to believe that Professor Wraith and his team will be successful in their task in what is a very complicated part of medicine.  And, for the first time, there is hope that patients with Pernicious Anaemia will not only have their illness treated, but it could also be cured.

The diagram on the right is a heat map of genetic things – whatever that means – as I said, it’s extremely complicated!