The study team performed the initial analysis in DNA from 1,758 patients with Crohn's disease and 1,480 control subjects, all of European ancestry. They repeated the study in three additional groups, of both European and African American ancestry, and were able to replicate their results. Their study was the first to use a pathway-based approach to analyze GWA, without deciding beforehand to concentrate on a specific pathway.
For children and adults with Crohn's disease, who suffer the debilitating effects of chronic gastrointestinal inflammation, the emerging gene data may open the doors to more effective treatments. "Blocking cell receptors at some points on a biological pathway may produce clinical improvements, but with side effects to the immune system," said Baldassano. "If we can block other molecules further downstream on a pathway, we may achieve better treatments that may be more specific to an individual patient, with fewer side effects."
Funding for the study came from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health, the Primary Children's Medical Center Foundation and an Institute Development Award from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
In addition to the Children's Hospital researchers, co-authors of the study came from numerous hospitals and universities in the United States, Italy, Scotland and Canada.
Wang et al, "Diverse Genome-wide Association Studies Associate the IL12/23 Pathway with Crohn's Disease," The American Journal of Human Genetics, 84, pp. 1-7, March 13, 2009.
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, Child
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