New Genetic Ties to MS Found

Findings represent stunning medical breakthrough
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2007 6:04 PM CDT
Television talk show host Montel Williams emphasizes a point as he speaks at a news conference, Friday, March 23, 2007, at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn. Williams, who suffers from...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Scientists have pinpointed two genes that may be linked to MS, signaling a breakthrough in the fight against the debilitating disease 20 years in the making. In separate studies published today by two medical journals, researchers revealed one specific gene receptor may trigger cells to inhibit the body's autoimmune reaction, the first ever genetic culprit in the crippling disorder.

In one study, scientists scanned the entire human genome of 12,000 people for risk factors of the disease, which affects more than 350,000 Americans. For all of their promise, none of their newly discovered genes, Reuters says, seems to be as closely associated to MS as a cluster of genes that's essential to the immune system.