Discovery of new genes will help childhood arthritis treatment

April 22, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists from The University of Manchester have identified 14 new genes which could have important consequences for future treatments of childhood arthritis.

Scientists Dr Anne Hinks, Dr Joanna Cobb and Professor Wendy Thomson, from the University's Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit, whose work is published in Nature Genetics yesterday (21 April), looked at DNA extracted from blood and of 2,000 children with childhood arthritis and compared these to healthy people.

Principal Investigator Professor Thomson, who also leads the in Children theme at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Manchester Musculoskeletal Unit, said: "This study brought together an international group of scientists from around the world and is the largest investigation into the genetics of childhood arthritis to date."

Childhood arthritis affects one in 1,000 in the UK. It is caused by a combination of genetic and , however until recently very little was known about the genes that are important in developing this disease – only three were previously known.

Dr Hinks, joint lead author of the study, said the findings were a significant breakthrough for understanding more about the biology of the disease and this might help identify novel therapies for the disease. "Childhood arthritis, also known as (JIA), is a specific type of arthritis quite separate from types found in adults and there's been only a limited amount of research into this area in the past," she said. "This study set out to look for specific . To identify these 14 is quite a big breakthrough. It will help us to understand what's causing the condition, how it progresses and then to potentially develop new therapies."

The study may help to predict which children need specific treatment earlier and allow to better control their pain management, quality of life and long-term outcome. Currently 30 per cent of children with the disease continue to suffer from arthritis in adulthood.

Dr Cobb, joint lead author, added: "There are lots of different forms of childhood arthritis so identifying the markers will help us understand a little bit more about the disease process. It will also help to categorise children with JIA into sub-types dependent on which genes they have and allow us to determine the best course of treatment."

The study which took two years to complete, will ultimately help clinicians to better manage children with the disease and give potential to develop new therapies.

Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK who part funded the work, said: "We have known for some time that there is a strong genetic contribution to a child's risk of developing JIA, however previously only three genetic risk factors had been identified. This study is the largest genetic investigation of JIA to date and has identified 14 new risk regions, adding a significant amount to our knowledge of the genetic basis of this disorder. Further work is now required to investigate each of these regions in more detail, to enable us to understand how they are involved in disease development and identify potential new therapeutic targets."

Explore further: Arthritis study reveals why gender bias is all in the genes

More information: Dense genotyping of immune-related disease regions identifies 14 new susceptibility loci for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, DOI: 10.1038/ng.2614

Related Stories

Arthritis study reveals why gender bias is all in the genes

November 16, 2012
Researchers have pieced together new genetic clues to the arthritis puzzle in a study that brings potential treatments closer to reality and could also provide insights into why more women than men succumb to the disabling ...

The Medical Minute: What juvenile idiopathic arthritis means for kids

July 31, 2012
July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month, and a great opportunity to learn about a disease that you may not have much exposure to, or perhaps a chance to learn more about a condition that affects a friend or family member.

Research find links between lifestyle and developing rheumatoid arthritis

March 18, 2013
Researchers in Manchester have found a link between several lifestyle factors and pre-existing conditions, including smoking cigarettes and diabetes, and an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Children with juvenile arthritis have higher rates of bacterial infection

May 1, 2012
Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) have higher rates of hospitalized bacterial infection than children without JIA according to an observational study appearing in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published ...

Cancer rate 4 times higher in children with juvenile arthritis

February 13, 2012
New research reports that incident malignancy among children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is four times higher than in those without the disease. Findings now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published ...

Recommended for you

Fluid in the knee holds clues for why osteoarthritis is more common in females

June 26, 2017
Researchers have more evidence that males and females are different, this time in the fluid that helps protect the cartilage in their knee joints.

Biologics before triple therapy not cost effective for rheumatoid arthritis

May 29, 2017
Stepping up to biologic therapy when methotrexate monotherapy fails offers minimal incremental benefit over using a combination of drugs known as triple therapy, yet incurs large costs for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ...

Drug for refractory psoriatic arthritis shows promise in clinical trial

May 24, 2017
In a pivotal phase-3 clinical trial led by a Stanford University School of Medicine investigator, patients with psoriatic arthritis for whom standard-of-care pharmaceutical treatments have provided no lasting relief experienced ...

Cross-species links identified for osteoarthritis

May 17, 2017
New research from the University of Liverpool, published today in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, has identified 'cell messages' that could help identify the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis could be prevented with good diet and exercise

May 12, 2017
Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.

Rodents with trouble walking reveal potential treatment approach for most common joint disease

May 11, 2017
Maintaining the supply of a molecule that helps to nourish cartilage prevented osteoarthritis in animal models of the disease, according to a report published in Nature Communications online May 11.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.