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Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most complex, diverse and leading cause of death in women worldwide. The present investigation aims to explore genes panel associated with BC in different African regions, and compare them to those studied worldwide.
We extracted relevant information from 43 studies performed in Africa using the following criteria: case-control study, association between genetic variations and BC risk. Data were provided on mutations and polymorphisms associated with BC without fixing a specific date. Case-only studies and clinical trials were excluded.
Our study revealed that the majority of African BC genetic studies remain restricted to the investigation of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and differences in their mutations spectrum. Therefore, it is necessary to encourage African researchers to characterize more genes involved in BC using methods generating global information such as next-generation sequencing in order to guide specific and more effective therapeutic strategies for the African community.
The probability of a Black African finding a matched unrelated donor for a hematopoietic stem cell transplant is minimal due to the high degree of genetic diversity amongst individuals of African origin. This problem could be resolved in part by the establishment of a public cord blood (CB) stem cell bank. The high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) amongst women attending antenatal clinics in sub-Saharan Africa together with the risk of mother-to-child transmission increases the risk of transplant transmissible infection. In addition to screening the mother in a period inclusive of 7 days prior to the following delivery, we propose that all CB units considered for storage undergo rigorous and reliable screening for HIV. The Ultrio-plus® assay is a highly specific and sensitive test for detecting HIV, hepatitis-B and hepatitis-C viruses in peripheral blood. We validated the Ultrio-plus® assay for analytical sensitivity in detecting HIV in CB at the level of detection of the assay. Until more comprehensive and sensitive methods are developed, the sensitivity and reliability of the Ultrio-plus® assay suggest that it could be used for the routine screening of CB units in conjunction with currently recommended maternal screening to reduce the risk of transplant transmissible infection.
Africa may be heading for an era of genomics medicine. There are also expectations that genomics may play a role in reducing global health inequities. However, the near lack of genomics studies on African populations has led to concerns that genomics may widen, rather than close, the global health inequity gap. To prevent a possible genomics divide, the genomics ‘revolution’ has been extended to Africa. This is motivated, in part, by Africa's rich genetic diversity and high disease burden. What remains unclear, however, are the prospects of using genomics technology for healthcare in Africa. In this qualitative study, we explored the views of 17 genomics researchers in Africa on the prospects and challenges of genomics medicine in Africa. Interviewees were researchers in Africa who were involved in genomics research projects in Africa. Analysis of in-depth interviews suggest that genomics medicine may have an impact on disease surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. However, Africa's capacity for genomics medicine, current research priorities in genomics and the translation of research findings will be key defining factors impacting on the ability of genomics medicine to improve healthcare in Africa.