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International Collaboration Uncovers Genetic Commonalities

Armen Hareyan's picture

The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies has taken on the role of connecting multiple disease specific, genetic consortia under the FOCIS Network of Consortia in an effort to uncover the genetic basis of autoimmunity.

The Network, spearheaded by FOCIS President, David Hafler, MD, Harvard University and Stephen Rich, PhD, Wake Forest University, has recently completed genome wide association scans revealing novel candidate genes that may provide important insights into disease pathogenesis and therapeutic targets.

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The results will be presented for the first time on June 11 at the Federation's Annual Meeting (FOCIS 2007) in San Diego.

Francis Collins, MD, PhD of the National Human Genome Research Institute will present a cross-section of data from ongoing genome wide association scans in autoimmune disease -- inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and type 1 diabetes (T1D). In addition, the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) will present a series of disease-oriented genome wide association scans using a common control group.

"Scientists that once worked in disease-specific silos are uniting to create a catalogue of common genetic variations that will enable scientists to unravel underlying causes of autoimmune diseases," said Stephen Rich. "New data across diseases is showing great commonality, identifying potential targets that work across autoimmune diseases," he added.