Dutch scientists ‘reach milestone’ in search of cure for arthritis

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Scientists at teaching hospital Erasmus MC in Rotterdam have reached a milestone in an international study into arthritis, which they believe may result in a cure in ten years’ time.

There is currently no remedy for arthritis, a painful inflammation of the joints which affects over a million people in the Netherlands and which can be debilitating.

Researchers identified some 100 DNA variations and 77 genes which increase the risk of getting the disease in the largest genetic study into the disease in the world.

Arthritis was already known to have a genetic component, but never before have so many DNA variations and genes been shown to influence the progress of the disease, head researcher Cindy Boer told broadcaster NOS.

‘We put all the genes through a medical database. The good news was that we found that existing medicines already on the market act on at least half of these genes,’ Boer said.

This means that perhaps in time a therapy will be available which can prevent or even cure arthritis, Boer said. ‘More research is needed but I’m sure we will have something between now and ten years.’

The results of the study have been published in medical journal Cell.

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