This research contributes to the growing body of evidence that suggests there are many genetic risk factors that are shared between autoimmune diseases. Of the 22 regions identified in this study of primary biliary cirrhosis, 12 have previously been associated with other autoimmune disorders such as type-1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. Working out how these shared pathways interact with those that, at this moment in time, appear to be unique to primary biliary cirrhosis is likely to lead to important therapeutic breakthroughs.
"The publication of this paper is no routine academic matter for people with primary biliary cirrhosis," says Collette Thain, MBE, Chief Executive of the PBC Foundation. "For us, it means hope one step towards understanding how best to treat and cure. It is a testament to the perseverance and ingenuity of all the scientists who worked on this project. But because this was a collaborative project, part funded by the PBC Foundation and directly involving patients, it is also an example of how people with conditions like primary biliary cirrhosis can work together with scientists and physicians to find solutions.
"As a sufferer myself, it is hard to put into words what an exciting breakthrough like this means to me and all the other people with primary biliary cirrhosis. Research like this brings a brighter tomorrow ever closer."
|Contact: Don Powell|
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute