(Reuters) – A large study of European populations has uncovered seven new clusters of defective genes which may be responsible for rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and disabling disease that affects mainly the joints.
The paper was published in Nature Genetics on Monday together with findings of a separate study in Japan, which identified one of the seven genetic clusters as possibly causing the chronic inflammatory disease among Japanese.
“The findings leverage us to better understand the basic biology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with the goals of developing new targets for therapy and new biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis,” wrote research scientist Eli Ayumi Stahl at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in the United States, who led the study on European populations.
The study was also intended “to develop better genetic tests for RA risk, especially in people already at risk (such as arthritis patients or relatives of patients with autoimmune disorders),” Stahl told Reuters.
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