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UT rheumatologists discover 2 genes related to disabling form of arthritis
Date:10/21/2007

ell as autoimmune thyroid disease/Graves Disease, breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. Reveille, the George S. Bruce, Jr. Professor in Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases, said the most significant findings were in AS, a disease that generally strikes patients in their teens, 20s or 30s.

ARTS1 and IL23R show a new pathway of causation, Reveille said, and this could lead to new therapies for the arthritic condition, which can cause a complete fusion of the spine, leaving patients unable to straighten and bend.

The identification of the two new genes also could help physicians identify patients who are at the highest risk for developing AS.

For example, if you have a family member with AS, a simple blood test would be able to tell us if you are also at risk, Reveille said. We could offer screenings for people with back pain. In the past, the HLA-B27 test was all we had. Now we potentially have more tests.

Steve Haskew, who has lived with AS for thirty years, said the genetic discovery offers hope to patients especially those who are newly diagnosed.

When I first started experiencing problems lower back pain, the aching joints no one could tell me what was wrong, said Haskew, 59, co-leader of an AS support group that meets every other month at the UT Medical School at Houston. It took 10 years before a rheumatologist diagnosed me with AS. Back then, there werent many options. I was told to take anti-inflammatories and stay as active as possible. Its fascinating to see how far weve come and how much has been learned about the disease since then.

The research done by Reveille and his colleague Xiaodong Zhou, M.D., associate professor of medicine in Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunogenetics, was supported in part by the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

This is a success story for genetics work, and I think it wi
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Contact: Meredith Raine
Meredith.Raine@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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