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Genes linked with lupus are revealed, giving hope for new treatments
Date:1/20/2008

genes affect the function of B cells, which play a key role in the production of antibodies. Autoantibodies, which attack the body's own proteins, contribute to the damage done to the body in Lupus.

The new research also confirms links identified in previous studies between Lupus, as well as other autoimmune diseases, and certain other genes.

Professor Timothy Vyse, a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow from the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London, and one of the authors of the study, said: "Lupus is a complex disease, which is hard to diagnose, and it can cause many different and unpredictable problems for patients. Living with Lupus can be really tough. We currently can treat the disease by suppressing the immune system, but we urgently need to understand in much more detail what goes wrong with the immune system so that we can design better treatments. This study represents a milestone in progress towards unravelling the secrets of the disease.

"We are continuing to work on refining these genetic studies. Blood samples from patients with Lupus have helped us already and we are very grateful to those who have given us samples. We always need more samples and would like to hear from anyone with Lupus who would like to help us by giving blood samples for this important research," added Professor Vyse.

The researchers reached their conclusions after comparing the genetic makeup of 720 women of European descent with Lupus and 2,337 women without Lupus. They looked at mutations in the building blocks, called nucleotides, which make up DNA.

There are mutations in around one in every 600 nucleotides and the scientists examined over 317,000 how many of these mutations to find those specific to Lupus. These mutations are known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms.

The researchers confirmed their results by comparing another set of genetic data for 1,846 women with Lupus and 1,825 women without Lupus.

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Contact: Laura Gallagher
L.Gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-46702
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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