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UNC researchers identify genetic patterns that may predict osteoarthritis
Date:9/21/2010

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. Scientists from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Interleukin Genetics, Inc. announced today findings from a large clinical study to evaluate the role played by genetic factors in the worsening of osteoarthritis.

The study, which was part of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, showed patients with X-ray evidence of knee osteoarthritis who inherited a specific pattern of genetic variations in the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) gene were almost twice as likely to progress to severe disease as other patients. Results from the study, which followed 1,154 patients for up to 11 years, will be presented this week at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis in Brussels, Belgium.

The study, led by Joanne Jordan, MD, MPH, the Herman & Louise Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the first of its kind to include both African-Americans and Caucasians, as well as inclusion of genetic, radiographic, serologic, physical and functional examinations of its participants.

"The strong association shown in this study between progressive OA and the IL-1Ra gene variations, as well as the body of previous related published research, might suggest that this IL-1Ra genetic information could be tested as a tool to identify high-risk patients for participation in clinical trials for the development of a much-needed disease modifying OA drug," Jordan said.

Interleukin Genetics previously reported variations in the gene for IL-1Ra are strongly associated with severe knee osteoarthritis and this clinical study validates the company's earlier findings and other previous studies that have implicated the anti-inflammatory protein IL-1Ra in progression to severe disease.

Although osteoarthritis (OA) is the greatest cause of
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Contact: Tom Hughes
tahughes@unch.unc.edu
919-966-6047
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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UNC researchers identify genetic patterns that may predict osteoarthritis
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