New research finds 30 additional genes contributing to Multiple Sclerosis

Posted on : 12-08-2011 | By : Fabio Sanchez | In : Articles

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A multicenter research coordinated by researchers at Oxford and Cambridge has added 30 more genes to the list of genetic factors involved in the development of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The list is now close to 50 genes and about 80% of them are linked to immunity. This finding underscores the complexity of this and other inflammatory diseases where every patient is likely to have a unique combination of genetic factors making them susceptible to disease. The hope is that a number of those genes might be relatively more important and that targeting them would be enough to reprogram immunity to keep inflammation away from the central nervous system. Genetic profiling would be a very important tool to detect susceptible individuals, but determining triggering factors from the environment is as important. Other research has shown that smoking is a very important trigger in women with rheumatoid arthritis, making it possible to prevent AR by, among other things, avoiding the habit of smoking. The MS research community is also focusing on finding out if toxins or microorganisms might trigger MS so that preventative measures can be developed; a likely candidate factor is vitamin D deficiency. This recent study will be a pivotal point for functional studies that will describe how those 50 genes cooperate with each other and their environment to allow or prevent MS from emerging.

Link to the study on the genetics of MS: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v476/n7359/full/nature10251.html