Researchers Discover Five Genetic Variations Associated with Crohn's Disease in Ashkenazi Jews

Posted: March 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

To: HEALTH, MEDICAL AND NATIONAL EDITORS

MANHASSET, N.Y., March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A collaborative group of investigators has joined together to identify five genetic variations associated with Crohn's disease (CD) and Jewish individuals of Eastern and Central European decent, who are also known as Ashkenazi Jews. These findings were published in the March issue of PLoS Genetics.

CD causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract and can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications. CD is two-to-four times more prevalent among individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish decent compared to non-Jewish Europeans. The study conducted at multiple institutions across the world, including the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, was an important step toward understanding the genetic reasons for this higher prevalence.

"This large collaborative study made it possible to define more precisely the genetic contributions to Crohn's disease that are enriched in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, which has carried a higher risk for this disorder," said Peter K. Gregersen, head of the Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics and Human Genetics at the Feinstein Institute. "The study identified genetic regions that hadn't been discovered before, and if additional studies of these regions are conducted there is a chance that biological pathways affecting susceptibility to Crohn's disease could be found and novel treatments could be developed."

About Crohn's Disease (CD)

CD causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and malnutrition. CD can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications. There currently is no cure for CD, but available therapies can greatly reduce the signs and symptoms of CD.

About the Study

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

SOURCE The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

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Researchers Discover Five Genetic Variations Associated with Crohn's Disease in Ashkenazi Jews

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