Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis: The Blog

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Newsroom – UTHealth scientists zeroing in on genes tied to two immune disorders

UTHealth scientists zeroing in on genes tied to two immune disorders

TARGETED RESEQUENCING OF IMMUNE-ASSOCIATED GENES – UTHealth researcher Xiaodong Zhou, M.D., will perform a study of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genomics of ankylosing spondylitis and scleroderma.

HOUSTON – (Sept. 7, 2010) – A new study designed to test suspected links between genes and two immune disorders could open the door to better ways to diagnose and treat the conditions that affect a combined total of approximately 2.5 million people in the United States, report scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

The genes are thought to be associated with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that attacks the spine, and systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), a chronic, often progressive, disease of connective tissue. As many as 2.4 million people in the United States may be affected by ankylosing spondylitis and its related diseases. Systemic sclerosis impacts about 100,000 people in the United States.

The researchers plan to conduct an exhaustive analysis of these genes and others using a research technique called targeted resequencing. The study will involve more than 6,000 patients with ankylosing spondylitis or scleroderma from the United States, China and Spain and it will focus on an area of the genome linked to immunity issues called the major histocompatibility complex. The study will also include about 3,000 people without the conditions.

“This is the most complicated region of the human genome,” said Xiaodong Zhou, M.D., a principal investigator and associate professor of internal medicine at the UTHealth Medical School. “The region contains genes linked to all types of immune diseases. In many instances, we don’t know precisely where the linkage comes from. We want to find out if these are true associations.”

KEEP READING HERE:   Newsroom – UTHealth scientists zeroing in on genes tied to two immune disorders.


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