Gene discovery means new hope for rheumatoid arthritis

2013-12-26 07:11

There may be new hope for treating rheumatoid arthritis, thanks to researchers who have conducted one of the largest gene studies to date that reveals what makes people more susceptible to the auto-immune disease that leads to inflammation of the joints, decreased mobility and pain.

The condition is thought to be the result of a combination of environmental factors and genes that are poorly understood.

Dr. Robert M. Plenge from the Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute in the USA and Dr. Yukinori Okada from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Japan collaborated with investigators from 70 institutions worldwide to find 98 genes that could potentially contribute to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers say the finding potentially means new drugs that can treat the condition that affects 0.5-1% of adults in the developed world.

The study

For their study the researchers analyzed 10 million genetic variants called single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs). They discovered 42 new regions known as loci associated with rheumatoid arthritis, which they explain brings the total number of regions now known in the genome to contribute to the disease to 101.


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