Genetic Study Points Way for Vaccine Research

"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since 1982."


SOURCE National Vaccine Information Center
CONTACT: Barbara Loe Fisher of NVIC, +1 703-938-0342
Web site:


VIENNA, Va., May 3 /PRNewswire/NEWSdesk -- Calling the genetic study published today in the May 1999 issue of Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology a "major breakthrough" in scientific understanding of the possible biological mechanisms involved in vaccine-associated injury and death, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is urging government funding of similar independent scientific research into potential genetic factors involved in vaccine-induced autoimmune and brain dysfunction.

A three year study, funded and conducted by the Chronic Illness Research Foundation in collaboration with researchers from the University of Michigan School of Medicine and a California Department of Veterans Affairs facility, found abnormal RNA in the blood of 50 percent of sick Gulf War veterans and none in the age and sex matched healthy non-military controls. The presence of abnormal RNA in the blood indicates that chromosomal damage has occurred.

The RNA found in the sick Gulf War veterans contained genetic material that occurs only in regions of chromosome 22 (specifically 22q11.2), a chromosome uniquely susceptible to genetic rearrangements and mutation. Damage to chromosome 22q11.2 has been linked in other published studies to autoimmune diseases such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, thrombocytopenia purpura, and multiple myeloma cancer.

Gulf War soldiers were given 17 different viral and bacterial vaccines, including experimental anthrax and botulinum toxoid vaccines, as well as experimental drugs before deploying for the Gulf where they were exposed to pesticides and other chemical toxins. Many of the sick veterans are experiencing autoimmune and neurological dysfunction similar to that which is seen in vaccine injured children.

Lead researcher Howard B. Urnovitz, Ph.D., a Berkeley, California microbiologist and Science Director of the Chronic Illness Research Foundation, said "What our findings suggest is that, when the body is subjected to toxic events such as exposure to chemicals, radiation, viruses, bacteria, drugs or vaccines, there appears to be molecular memory. The human chromosome may be able to take just so many toxic exposures before it begins to break down. Certain genotypes may be particularly at risk for sustaining chromosomal damage after exposure to toxic events. This makes it important to limit exposures, including being more selective with vaccine use and finding ways to identify and pre-screen for those who may be at high risk for chromosomal damage."

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a non-profit, educational organization founded in 1982 by parents of vaccine injured children, has been critical of the lack of government funding of independent, basic science research into the biological mechanism of vaccine injury and death. NVIC has collected reports of vaccine reactions for the past 17 years and some families have reported two or more family members who have become disabled or died following vaccination, indicating genetic predisposition to vaccine induced health problems.

"This is the kind of pioneering research at the basic science level that is desperately needed to investigate and identify the potential genetic factors involved in vaccine reactions," said NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher. "We owe it to the more than four million children born every year in the US who are required by law to receive multiple vaccines, to do everything we can to screen out those who may be at high risk for suffering potential vaccine-induced genetic damage."

One government clinical study found that children with a family history of neurological disorders were three times more likely to suffer neurological problems after receiving a DPT shot. However, government-funded basic science research into biological mechanisms for vaccine-induced health problems is not being conducted and no techniques to identify and screen out high risk children have been developed.

For more information, call 703-938-DPT3 or access NVIC's Web site at or the Web site of Chronic Illness Research Foundation at

The National Vaccine Information Center is a non-profit educational organization founded by parents of vaccine-injured children in 1982.


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