Friday, December 14, 2012

14 new genes linked with arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disorder that primarily affects our flexible joints. It causes inflammation in the joints, resulting in swelling, stiffness, pain and reduced joint function.  Women are 3 times more likely to develop this disorder than men are.

A recent study (reported Nov 26 2012) conducted by researchers from the University of Manchester has identified 14 genes in both genders that are associated with the disorder. These 14 join another 32 genes that have already been identified in a previous study. Out of those 14, some of them were X-chromosome genes. This newly- established association between the X chromosome and the disorder could possibly help explain the significantly higher incidence of it in women, who have 2 X chromosomes, than in men, who have only 1.

Presently, about 1/3 of arthritis patients do not respond well to the medicine available on the market.  The results of this study will greatly improve clinical treatment of arthritis. Out of the 14 genes newly identified, 3 are currently "targets for drugs" - as in that we presently have drugs that are able to target those specific genes. The remaining 43 genes can & should be studied in terms of pharmacology to further develop our clinical treatment ability. 

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