Inherited Gene for MS Identified
Researchers at the University of British Columbia who studied the DNA of families affected by multiple sclerosis report they have found a gene that causes a rare but inherited form of the disease. This rapidly progressive type of multiple sclerosis affects roughly one in every thousand MS patients, and the Canadian researchers found the culprit gene in two sets of families with several members taking part in the study.
The mutation in the gene in question, NR1H3, is a causative risk factor passed down from parents to children, researchers say, while stressing that other factors can also trigger the disease process.
Researcher Dr. Carles Vilarino-Guell, quoted at BBC.com, pointed out that "these are still early days and there is a lot to test, but if we are able to repurpose some of these experimental drugs [that can slow or stop the body's immune system from mistakenly attacking the protective layer of myelin that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord], it could shorten the time it takes to develop targeted MS treatments.