The researchers strongly believe that these genes can be added to the list of genes already known to affect IBD, even though further research is needed to identify the specific disease-causing mutations in the new genes.
"As we continue to find genes that interact with each other and with environmental influences in this complex, chronic disease, we are building the foundation for personalized treatments tailored to a patient's genetic profile," Nature magazine quoted co-first author Robert N. Baldassano, director of the Centre for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as saying.
"We will resequence the gene regions we have identified to pinpoint the causative mutations in these genes," said study leader Hakon Hakonarson, director of the Centre for Applied Genomics at Children's Hospital.
"We strongly suspect one gene will provide a compelling target for drug development, given what's known about its biology," Hakonarson added.
During the study, the researchers performed a genome-wide association in DNA samples from 1,000 patients with childhood-onset IBD.
They discovered two novel gene variants, one on chromosome 20 and the other on chromosome 21.
They said that the TNFRSF6B gene on chromosome 20 is a compelling candidate, because it is already known to participate in the biological pathway of a protein called tumour necrosis factor (TNF), which plays a key role in the harmful inflammation characteristic of IBD.
The study appears in Nature Genetics.