Discovery of gene stirs hope for Crohn’s disease patients

by Monisha on  October 28, 2006 at 3:04 PM Genetics & Stem Cells News   - G J E 4
Discovery of gene stirs hope for Crohn’s disease patients
The discovery of a gene recently by scientists that plays a key role in advancing inflammatory processes has raised the hopes of researchers who feel this might be the breakthrough longed for in opening new vistas to counter gastro intestinal diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The gene now named IL-23R has been implicated with many chronic illnesses associated with gastro intestinal system collectively referred to as Inflammatory Bowl Disease, reports the online journal Science Express.

Dr. Richard Duerr, the study's lead author, commented that the discovery of this gene and its association with inflammatory processes offers hope for developing more specific formulation drugs and therapies to help patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, which is known to affect more than one million Americans typically heralded by abdominal pain, loose stools and bleeding per rectum, which is believed by scientists to be triggered of by some kind of auto immune response which blocks useful bacteria in the intestinal tract.

Since a long time now scientists were on the look out of probable genes that could give a clue to the recurrence of IBD in families since they suspected a genetic link having observed this disease which seemed to persist in certain ethnic groups and in families with a history of some one else related to them having it. Though still unclear as to how the gene IL-23R works scientists are definite that it stores information for that part of the immune system which plays arole in inflammatory processes and thus is useful for fighting infections. The scientists are hopeful that if they succeed in mimicking the protective gene or blocking its variant form they would be able to develop better drugs to combat inflammatory bowel diseases Presently the only options for treatment are steroids, anti biotics and anti inflammatory drugs which are not truly adequate.

Source: Medindia

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