WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 15 Interleukin Genetics,Inc. (Amex: ILI), announced today that Kenneth Kornman, Ph.D., the company'sChief Scientific Officer, will present important new research findings on thegenetics of osteoarthritis (OA) at the 2008 World Congress on Osteoarthritis,sponsored by the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI). The2008 World Congress on Osteoarthritis takes place Sept. 18-21, 2008, at theRome Marriott Park Hotel in Rome, Italy.
Dr. Kornman will give an oral presentation, titled, "IL-1 RN Polymorphismsare Associated with Radiographic Severity in Osteoarthritis," on Sunday, Sept.21, 2008 in the Tiziano B room at 9:50 a.m. CEST. In addition, new findingsby Interleukin Genetics and collaborators, titled "Genetic Markers Associatedwith Generalized Osteoarthritis," will be presented during the poster sessionall day on Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, in the Foyer Tiziano room.
Dr. Kornman, Interleukin Genetics' Chief Scientific Officer and one of theauthors of the two presentations, commented, "The new findings are based on agenetic test in development by Interleukin Genetics. The genetic test appearsto identify knee OA patients who are likely to develop more severe jointdestruction as they age. This information should be valuable in guiding themedical management of high risk patients and could be especially helpful indirecting use of potential future disease modifying drugs for OA to achieveoptimal benefit."
The new genetic findings are the result of research collaborations withDr. Steven Abramson and Dr. Mukundan Attur of the New York University Hospitalfor Joint Diseases and Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus of the Duke University MedicalCenter. The studies evaluated a broad range of gene variations in OApopulations from both institutions. Three commonly occurring variations inthe gene for IL-1 receptor antagonist were found to be strongly andsignificantly associated with severe knee OA, as measured on radiographs.
In addition, variations in three separate genes involved in inflammationwere found to predict which knee OA patients are more likely to develop OA intheir hands, a more generalized form of the disease that adds furthercomplications to the patient's daily activities.
Osteoarthritis is a debilitating, degenerative joint disease and theleading cause of physical disability in modern societies. According to dataon the American College of Rheumatology website, approximately 21 millionadults in the U.S. have joint pain and limited movement consistent with adiagnosis of OA. It has been estimated that 45 percent of adults will developknee OA as they age. Many OA patients experience minimal changes in theirsymptoms over time and manage their disease symptoms for many years with non-prescription pain medications. A substantial number of other patients willdevelop severe destruction of the bone and joint tissues leading tocompromised physical activity and more generalized disease affecting thehands. Severe structural deterioration impairs the quality of life and oftenleads to disability and joint replacement. In the U.S. approximately 500,000patients received joint replacement surgery in 2007. There are currently nodrugs approved for modifying disease progression of OA, but several drugs arein mid-to-late stages of development.
About the Studies to be Reported at OARSI
Adults with confirmed knee OA were analyzed for genetic variationsinvolved in inflammation and in regulating the status of cartilage and bonetissues that compose the joints. One study investigated whether genevariations were associated with more severe OA. It was found that commongenetic variations in the IL-1 receptor antagonist gene were significantlymore frequent in patients with severe knee OA as compared to those with mildOA. In a second study, specific gene variations were investig