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Pediatric Researchers Find Possible 'Master Switch' Gene in Juvenile Arthritis
Date:7/1/2008

e there is no cure for JIA, medicines and physical therapy can help maintain movement and reduce swelling and pain. Researchers have previously identified seven subtypes of JIA.

"We think this finding may be a clue to the specific disease pathway that leads to arthritis," said Behrens, a pediatric rheumatologist at Children's Hospital. "We currently use medicines called tumor necrosis factor blockers to treat children with JIA. However, not all children respond to these drugs, and other children may develop severe allergic reactions and other side effects. If we can fully identify all the genes that interact with environmental risk factors, we might develop more targeted treatments with fewer side effects."

"The high-resolution genome-wide association approach has very markedly enhanced our ability to identify disease genes in complex disorders such as JIA, and what is remarkable about this discovery is that it appears there may be a common genetic factor predisposing to all seven forms of the disease," said Dr. Hakonarson.

The study was supported by an Institutional Research Development Award from Children's Hospital and development research awards from the Cotswold Foundation, the Nickolett Fund, and the Arthritis Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Other authors are Jonathan P. Bradfield, B.S.; Cecilia E. Kim; LeKenya Linton, R.N., A.S.; Tracy Casalunovo, M.S.; Edward C. Frackelton, B.A.; Erin Santa B.A.; F. George Otieno, M.S.; Joseph T. Glessner, M.S.; Rosetta M. Chiavacci, B.S.N., and Struan F.A. Grant, Ph.D. All are from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many d
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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