London: New genetic clues piecing together the arthritis puzzle of why more women succumb to the condition than men have been found by University of Manchester researchers, bringing potential treatments closer to reality.Rheumatoid arthritis – which affects about 1 percent of the world’s population – is a complicated disease: lifestyle and environmental factors, such as smoking, diet, pregnancy and infection are thought to play a role, but it is also known that a person’s genetic makeup influences their susceptibility to the condition.Scientists at the Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit at The University of Manchester have discovered 14 new genes that can lead to rheumatoid arthritis, adding to the 32 other genes they had already identified; the team believes it has now discovered the vast majority of disease-causing genes for the condition.The Manchester researchers`` latest study has identified genes specific to the female X-chromosome – which could explain why three times more women than men present with the disease."This work will have a great impact on the clinical treatment of arthritis; we have already found three genes that are targets for drugs, leaving a further 43 genes with the potential for drug development, helping the third of patients who fail to respond well to current medications,” first author Dr Stephen Eyre said.
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