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A genetic accelerator hits the gas on autoimmune diseases
Date:1/16/2012

t severe cases is the accelerator HS1.2 enhancer. Enhancers are DNA sequences that accelerate the activation of neighboring genes and enhance their functioning, hence the name.

HS1.2 leads to enhanced activation of the "transcription factor NF-KB" (a transcription factor is a molecule that "reads" the genes to make them work), which in turn dramatically increases the aggressiveness of the inflammatory processes underlying the disease.

Italian researchers have discovered that over 30 per cent of the patients has the enhancer HS1.2 in their Dna and that it causes a more severe form of Lupus.

The researchers reached this finding after demonstrating that the enhancer HS1.2 promotes also other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and identified how the enhancer causes increased susceptibility to autoimmune diseases.

"Our results suggest that new drugs that turn off the enhancer HS1.2, or inhibit its effect on NF-KB, can stop the disease without the need for immunosuppressive drugs or other therapies with many side effects," Ferraccioli said. "Moreover the discovery of the role of this enhancer allows us to better classify patients and formulate a precise prognosis for each one moving toward more personalized care."


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Contact: Gianfranco Ferraccioli
gf.ferraccioli@rm.unicatt.it
39-347-322-4547
Catholic University of Rome
Source:Eurekalert

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