Bowel Disease Gene Discovery
News Aug 27, 2014
Scientists have identified chemical changes in the DNA of patients with Crohn’s disease that could help to screen people for the disease.
These changes can be detected in blood samples, opening the door to a simple test for Crohn’s disease.
The findings also offer clues to how the condition develops and reveal possible targets for new treatments.
Several genes have been linked to Crohn’s disease but not everybody who inherits these genes will develop the condition. The discovery sheds light on how environmental factors that vary between individuals - such as diet and gut bacteria - can trigger Crohn’s disease in some people who have inherited these genes.
'Our study gives the strongest evidence yet that epigenetic changes are involved in Crohn’s disease. The findings provide a potential mechanism whereby diet or other environmental factors may modify genetic material to cause Crohn’s disease. We hope the findings will help to identify much-needed treatment opportunities for this debilitating condition.'
Professor Jack Satsangi
Head of Gastroenterology Unit, Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine
A study involving children with Crohn’s disease in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Glasgow - led by the University of Edinburgh - identified chemical changes in their DNA that affect how their genes work.
The genes that are affected by these changes could represent useful targets for new treatments, the scientists say.
A DNA test alone would not be enough to diagnose the disease but it could pinpoint those at most risk and help to reduce the number of people who are put forward for further tests, researchers say.
It could also help to monitor progression of the disease and how patients respond to treatment.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease and a common cause of chronic ill-health in the UK. It is a particular problem in children in Scotland, where the incidence of the disease has increased by 500 per cent in the past 50 years.
At present there is no way to prevent Crohn’s disease and therapy is focused on treating the symptoms, which may include abdominal pain, diarrhoea and severe weight loss.
The study is published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Concept Life Sciences appoints New Group Programme Manager and US Head of SalesNews
Key leadership appointments support integration of the Group and expansion in the US market.READ MORE
Cold and Flu Season is Well Under Way But Don't Stifle a Sneeze Warn DoctorsNews
Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn't a good idea, warn doctors. One young man managed to rupture the back of his throat during this manoeuvre, leaving him barely able to speak or swallow, and in considerable pain.READ MORE
Immunosuppressive Cells in Newborns Play Important Role in Controlling Inflammation in Early LifeNews
New research has characterized the transitory presence of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in mouse and human newborns, revealing a critical role of these cells in regulation of inflammation in the early stages of life.READ MORE