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Unlocking the genetics and biology of ankylosing spondylitis
Date:7/10/2011

netic regions, the first time that associations have been found in HLA-B27 negative individuals. These findings indicate considerable similarity between the way HLA-B27 positive and negative ankylosing spondylitis develop.

Professor Matt Brown from the University of Queensland, Australia, says: "Our work shows the great value of partnering genetics research with functional investigations to determine the basic biology which leads to common diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, the causes of which have remained an enigma for so long.

"At the moment, whilst we have effective treatments to suppress the inflammation in ankylosing spondylitis, we have no treatment to substantially improve its long-term outcome, particularly the chronic pain, marked loss of movement and disability and that are common consequences of this disease. We must be cautious about the promise that these findings offer, but they are a promising step in the right direction."

Professor Alan Silman, Medical Director of Arthritis Research UK , which funded the preliminary work for the genetics research said the study was important, but added that it needed to be followed up before its significance could be measured clinically. "We're supporting further intensive work needed to investigate whether these genetic targets could offer scope for novel treatment approaches," he said.

Debbie Cook, Director of The National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (UK) added: "We are delighted with the results of these genetic studies in ankylosing spondylitis which will help us to understand the causes of the disease better, and hopefully to develop new ideas about its treatment. Our members have been heavily involved in these studies with scientists at the University of Oxford over the past 10 years and it is good to see the progress that has been made. It has long been recognised that there is a genetic element to the condition and that it has a tendency to run in families. The
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Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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