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Two Genes May Determine How Well MS Patients Do

Study in mice provides clues to variations in disease progression

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Two genes in mice have been linked to improvements in the body's ability to repair itself when afflicted with multiple sclerosis, potentially leading to more effective treatments, a U.S. scientist reports.

"Most MS genetic studies have looked at disease susceptibility -- or why some people get MS and others do not," study author Allan Bieber, a Mayo Clinic neuroscientist, said in a Mayo news release. "This study asked, among those who have MS, why do some do well with the disease while others do poorly, and what might be the genetic determinants of this difference in outcome."

The study, which was scheduled to be presented Friday at the Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis in Dusseldorf, Germany, identified two genes that appear to lead to repair of damage caused by multiple sclerosis in mice.

Multiple sclerosis affects about 330,000 people in the United States. The disease targets the central nervous system and damages the insulation that covers nerves. People with the disease suffer from a variety of symptoms, including loss of strength, vision, balance and muscle coordination.

"It's possible that the identification of these genes may provide the first important clue as to why some patients with MS do well, while others do not," Bieber said in the news release.

More information

Learn more about the disease from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Mayo clinic, news release, Sept. 11, 2009

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