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Search for osteoarthritis gene

12th October 2007

Scientists in England are planning the first study to investigate which genes could be the cause of osteoarthritis.

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The £2.2m study, known as arcOGEN, will analyse the DNA of 14,000 participants - 8,000 people with osteoarthritis and 6,000 people who do not suffer from the disease.

Currently, there are over two million elderly people suffering from osteoarthritis in the UK.

Painkillers are used to manage the disease as there are no drug-based treatments available which have a good success rate. As a result, about 120,000 joint replacement surgeries are performed annually.

In the UK, eight studies will be carried out by 30 genetic scientists. They will examine the entire genome sequence in order to find which genetic differences are present more often in people suffering from osteoarthritis.

Researchers hope a "suite of genes" could be found so that people could be tested for severe forms of the disease.

Professor Tim Spector, genetic epidemiologist from St Thomas's Hospital, London, and a member of the project, said that the team thought they would find "hundreds of genes" which could increase the risk of developing the disease. Around half of knee osteoarthritis and 60% of hip osteoarthritis is thought to be due to inherited genes.

Professor Spector said: "Most people end up getting osteoarthritis but only a third end up getting it severely and these are the people that are going to end up with expensive joint replacements. These genes can tell us who is going to do badly."





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Article Information

Title: Search for osteoarthritis gene
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 4384
Date Added: 12th Oct 2007

Sources

BBC News

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