Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Arthritis Genetics Analysis Aids Drug Discovery

Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Researchers identify 42 new areas in the human genome associated with rheumatoid arthritis, many of which are already the targets of drugs approved for other conditions.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in joints throughout the body. It’s an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissue, such as the membranes that line the joints. It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints.

The causes of rheumatoid arthritis aren’t completely known. Environmental factors—such as cigarette smoking, diet, and stress—may play a role in triggering the disease. Genetic factors are also thought to play a role. Several genes involved in the immune system have been associated with a tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

An international team of researchers, led by Drs. Robert Plenge, formerly of Harvard Medical School, and Yukinori Okada from RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Japan, conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS). This type of analysis involves scanning genetic regions in search of tiny variations that appear more often in people who have a particular condition than in those who don't.

Scientists from 70 institutions worldwide were involved in the study, which was funded in part by NIH's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Results appeared online in Nature on December 25, 2013.

The team analyzed 10 million gene variants from more than 100,000 people of European and Asian descent, including more than 29,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis and 73,000 controls. The researchers identified 42 new areas in the genome that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis, bringing the total number of known areas to 101. The findings suggest that the genetic risk of rheumatoid arthritis may be shared among Asians and Europeans.

Using bioinformatics methods, the scientists identified 98 candidate genes in these areas that might potentially contribute to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Further analysis showed a significant overlap among some of the gene regions and genes associated with other conditions, including human primary immunodeficiency and blood cancers.

The researchers analyzed drug databases and found that many of the genes associated with rheumatoid arthritis risk were the targets of drugs approved to treat people with the disease. They further found that risk genes overlapped with drugs approved for other diseases, suggesting these drugs might be repurposed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

“By leveraging human genetic data, we were able to shed light on genes and pathways that contribute to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. In the future, this approach could be applied to a variety of other complex diseases to discover new pathways and biological insights for drug discovery,” Plenge says.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss From a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
NIH Funding Targets Gaps in Biomedical Research
New awards support emerging issues in cutting-edge biomedical research fields.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Scientists Test New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss from a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Dormant Viral Genes May Awaken to Cause ALS
NIH human and mouse study may open an unexplored path for finding treatments.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Scientists Create World’s Largest Catalog of Human Genomic Variation
An international team of scientists from the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium has created the world’s largest catalog of genomic differences among humans, providing researchers with powerful clues to help them establish why some people are susceptible to various diseases.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Genetic Adaptations to Diet and Climate
Researchers found genetic variations in the Inuit of Greenland that reflect adaptations to their specific diet and climate.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Grants to Help Identify Variants in the Genome’s Regulatory Regions
New computational approaches needed to wade through millions of inherited DNA differences to find which ones matter.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Grants Awarded to Explore the Genome’s Regulatory Regions that Affect Disease Risk
New computational approaches needed to wade through millions of inherited DNA differences to find which ones matter.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
NIH Framework Points The Way Forward For Developing The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative
The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director has presented to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a detailed design framework for building a national research participant group, called a cohort, of 1 million or more Americans to expand our knowledge and practice of precision medicine.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Diet, Exercise, Smoking Habits and Genes Interact To Affect and Risk
NIH-funded study points to converging factors that drive disease-related inflammation.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
NIH Grants Seek Best Ways To Combine Genomic Information and EHRs
Researchers seek to better understand genomic basis of disease, provide tailored care to patients.
Friday, September 04, 2015
Cellular Factors that Shape the 3D Landscape of the Genome Identified
Researchers have identified 50 cellular factors required for the proper 3D positioning of genes by using novel large-scale imaging technology.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Nuclear Process in the Brain That May Affect Disease Uncovered
Scientists have shown that the passage of molecules through the nucleus of a star-shaped brain cell, called an astrocyte, may play a critical role in health and disease.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Tell-tale Biomarker Detects Early Breast Cancer in NIH-funded Study
The study published online in the issue of Nature Communications.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Scientists Adopt New Strategy to Find Huntington’s Disease Therapies
Large, international NIH-supported study uses precision medicine to tackle neurological disorders.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Scientific News
New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss From a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Five New Genetic Variants Linked to Brain Cancer Identified
The biggest ever study of DNA from people with glioma – the most common form of brain cancer – has discovered five new genetic variants associated with the disease.
Predictive Model for Breast Cancer Progression
Biomedical engineers have demonstrated a proof-of-principle technique that could give women and their oncologists more personalized information to help them choose options for treating breast cancer.
Fatty Liver Disease and Scarring Have Strong Genetic Component
Researchers say that hepatic fibrosis, which involves scarring of the liver that can result in dysfunction and, in severe cases, cirrhosis and cancer, may be as much a consequence of genetics as environmental factors.
Specific Variations in RNA Splicing Linked to Breast Cancer
Researchers have identified cellular changes that may play a role in converting normal breast cells into tumors. Targeting these changes could potentially lead to therapies for some forms of breast cancer.
Finding Links and Missing Genes
A catalogue of large-scale genetic changes around the world.
Scientists Test New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss from a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Gene Expression: A Snapshot of Stem Cell Development
New genes found that regulate development of stem cells.
Assessing Cancer Patient Survival and Drug Sensitivity
RNA editing events another way to investigate biomarkers and therapy targets.
A Natural History of Neurons
Diverse mutations reveal lineage of brain cells.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos