Monday, February 16, 2009

Genes to watch out for

The National Psoriasis Foundation announced late last week that they had had some remarkable research findings. Briefly:

In the largest and most technologically advanced study of its kind, researchers have identified seven DNA "hotspots" that may reveal the role genetics plays in the development of psoriasis.

"This fantastic new research brings us closer to understanding the complete genetic contribution to psoriasis," said Bruce Bebo Jr., director of research for the National Psoriasis Foundation. "In addition, these findings revealed a number of potential new psoriasis targets for treatments."The seven common DNA variants, or SNPs, that have strong associations with psoriasis identified in the study are:

  • Interleukin-23A (IL23A), IL23R, IL12, IL4 and IL13—immune signaling molecules that control the strength and type of immune response
  • TNFAIP3 and TNIP1—genes that are activated by an immune signaling molecule called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a known target for psoriasis modifying drugs.

Bebo said the Psoriasis Foundation contributed to the study by providing DNA samples from the Foundation's Tissue Bank, which was established in 1994 to house genetic material for psoriasis researchers.

I've spent a bit of time thinking about this finding, and trying to find something to say about it. What I've realized is that other than being ecstatic about it, I don't know enough yet about genes to understand and apply it to other research I'm reading. I think that probably most of us out there with PsA would feel the same.

So I'm starting a new sidebar on my blog for us genetic dunderheads, called "genes to watch out for", (inspired, of course, by this fabulous comic). I figure if I can keep a running list of those genes that seem to be important to understanding PsA, it will help me, and maybe folks who read this blog, recognize these genes as they pop up in our reading.

It also doesn't hurt that I'm married to a guy who's work revolves around genomics research. Poor guy. It's bad enough that he has to give me my Humira shot every other week. Now he has to teach me genomics. Ouch.

1 comment:

  1. I followed the link to the National Psoriasis Foundation website, but they didn't provide a reference to the publication. I'll sniff around and see if I can find it...