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

physical disability in the U.S., there are currently no drugs approved that modify the disease progression. One of the challenges to development of new drugs in OA has been the lack of tools that predict which OA patients are more likely to progress to severe disease, thereby making clinical trials more complicated and expensive.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Osteoarthritis was ranked among the top 10 most expensive medical conditions to treat. In 2005 alone it cost $34 billion, with joint replacement surgery absorbing most of the cost.

"Drug development for OA has been challenging, in part due to the difficulty of enrolling patients who are likely to exhibit disease progression during the study. There appears to be strong potential to use the IL-1Ra genetic patterns to select for clinical trials patients who are more likely to benefit from an effective drug," said Ken Kornman, Chief Scientific Officer, Interleukin Genetics. "A genetic test also would have strong clinical utility for physicians to better manage patients who will more likely progress to a severe form of the disease and require surgery."

The 1,154 subjects in the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Projected, which is directed by Jordan, were monitored for a period between 4 and 11 years to study initiation or progression of osteoarthritis. Subjects at the start of the study were analyzed for genetic markers that predicted those subjects who remained stable and those subjects who progressed to severe osteoarthritis, as measured radiographically. Nine genes were found to be associated with osteoarthritis progression, with the strongest prediction of progression from combinations of gene variations in the gene for IL-1Ra.

Iinterleukin-1 (IL-1) is one of the key chemicals involved in cartilage and bone destruction, and on specific genetic patterns in the naturally occurring inhibitors of that are predictive of IL-1 and of OA progression. T
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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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