Scientists Now See 200 Genes Linked to Crohn's Disease

Findings may eventually lead to better treatments, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Using a new technique, researchers have pinpointed a large number of additional genes associated with Crohn's disease, bringing the total to 200.

The scientists at University College London, in England, created a new method to identify and map the locations of genes associated with complex inherited diseases such as Crohn's.

Crohn's disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, affects about 100 to 150 people out of every 100,000. Understanding more about the genes associated with the disease may lead to improved treatments, the researchers said.

The 200 genes so far linked to Crohn's are more than have been found for any other disease, according to the researchers. For example, just 66 gene regions are known for type 2 diabetes.

"The discovery of so many gene locations for Crohn's disease is an important step forward in understanding the disease, which has a very complicated genetic basis," study senior author Dr. Nikolas Maniatis said in a university news release. "We hope that the method we have used here can be used to identify the genes involved in other diseases which are similarly complex -- for example different cancers and diabetes."

The new research was published Dec. 13 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

More information

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation has more about Crohn's disease.

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