New clues for rheumatoid arthritis

Posted Mar 5, 2014 by Tim Sandle
Current treatments relieve the symptoms but not for all patients, and there is no cure. As a step forward, an international team of researchers has found more than 40 new areas in DNA that increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
The research represents the largest genetic study ever carried out, involving nearly 30,000 patients. The investigators are of the view that new drugs could be developed to target these areas that could one day provide a cure for the disease.
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation within a joint. There are many different types of arthritis that cause a wide range of symptoms. Two of the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This latter type was the focus of the recent research.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a more severe, but less common, form of arthritis than osteoarthritis. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the affected joints, causing pain and swelling to occur. This can lead to a reduction in movement and the breakdown of bone and cartilage.
The research team compared the DNA of arthritis patients with those without the disease and found 42 "faulty" areas that were linked with the disease. According to the BBC, the hope is that, long-term, drugs can be developed to compensate for these faults.
The research was carried out at the Harvard Medical School and the findings have been published in the journal Nature. The paper is titled "Rheumatoid arthritis research shows potential of large-scale genetic studies for drug discovery."