Gene variations at birth reveal origins of immune disease

gene therapy, rheumatoid arthritis treatment, gene therapy arthritis, arthritis digest magazineGenes identified in cord samples of new babies may explain the origins of chronic immune and inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease. It is hoped that these genes can be targeted for therapeutic intervention to stop the diseases in their tracks, well before symptoms occur.

“Disease is partly due to changes, both large and small, in our genome – the DNA that we’re born with and which is a major driving force in all our cells,” Dr Michael Inouye, the lead investigator, explains. “That means, genomics can be used to estimate disease risk from a very early age.

“With so many diseases sharing a root in the immune system and inflammation we can leverage this information to better understand where each disease has a molecular weak spot and to what extent these are shared among different diseases. We’ve shown this can be dissected using genetics and polygenic risk, hopefully leading to targeted preventative interventions for those who need them most, with the aim of keeping people living healthier for longer.”

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