Genetic variants associated with ankylosing spondylitis are more common than previously thought

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ankylosing spondylitis, genetics, back pain, arthritis information, arthritis magazineA new insight into the genetics of ankylosing spondylitis could aid future treatment of the disease, says research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Data from 213 people with ankylosing spondylitis and 46 people with rheumatoid arthritis was analysed by researchers. They found that the genetic variants associated with the onset of the condition may be more common than previously thought.

Because the causes of ankylosing spondylitis are not well understood, the new research could make it easier for scientists to create new and more effective therapies.

Dr Katherine Free from Arthritis Research UK, comments:

“Ankylosing spondylitis is known to have a significant genetic link, and studies to date have identified over 40 genetic changes that are thought to contribute to an individual’s risk of developing this disease.

“This research sheds new light on the particular genetic changes within ERAP1 that are responsible for disease development. Identifying the effect that these genetic changes have on the immune system could pave the way for the development of new and more effective treatments for this condition.”

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