MS researchers have found a breakthrough gene discovery which could lead to a cure
- 30 Sep
Researchers set on finding a cure for multiple sclerosis have identified 48 genes which they say is a big step towards finding a cure for MS and further treatment.
A group of international scientists have discovered 48 previously unknown genes that influence the risk of developing the disease.
This discovery is a big step in the right direction to finding a cure and further treatment for the debilitating condition, says Professor David Booth of the University of Sydney who has led the Australian and New Zealand component of the study, reports the Guardian.
"The exciting thing about this is we have doubled the number of genes that we now know are associated with MS," he said. "What that means is every one of those new genes is potentially providing us with a new way to understand the disease and to come up with new therapies for the disease."
It is believed that the findings underline the central role the immune system plays the development of MS. The results show an overlap with genes found to be linked to other autoimmune diseases which include inflammatory bowel disease and coeliac disease.
The findings were published in the medical journal Nature Genetics underneath the umbrella of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium.
The study is the largest investigation of MS genetics to date and DNA from blood samples of 80,000 people with and without the condition was examined.
Booth said the "milestone" provided specific research targets. "So going forward we will try and find out why all of these genes affect MS," he said. "And particularly finding which processes are tagged by groups of genes and that will give us specific information on immune processes that are not functioning as they should."
Due to the results of the findings there are now 110 genetic variants linked to MS.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/520800
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