Genizon BioSciences has announced publication in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of four novel loci in Crohn's disease, in addition to confirmation of three known Crohn's disease genes. These discoveries are derived from a genome-wide association study in the Quebec Founder Population, which provides an advantage for comprehensive discovery of disease genes in complex disorders.
The new discoveries are expected to lead to the development of novel and more effective treatments for this disease.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder with a strong genetic component. Diet and environment are also contributing factors. These complex origins have made it difficult for scientists to pinpoint the best targets for drug therapy.
"These discoveries were made in 2004 when we conducted the world's first comprehensive genome-wide association study for a common disease," commented Dr. John Hooper, CEO of Genizon.
"We have done a great deal of research and analysis since then, culminating in this publication and also leading to a comprehensive "GeneMap" of gene-gene interactions and biochemical pathways. We believe Genizon is the first organization to identify a large number of interacting genes that are linked to the root cause of a common disease."
The discoveries featured in the PNAS publication were replicated and refined in two German populations, demonstrating the applicability of findings in the Quebec Founder Population to general patient populations. The study includes large scale sequencing and maps explaining how the multiple susceptibility loci interact to result in disease.
Genizon has identified additional genes that complement the genes in the PNAS article. These and their interactions are also under study for the development of novel treatments for Crohn's disease.