| research/study

Crohn's Disease Ancestry Link: Uncovering Genetic Markers, Mutations

Discovery May Inform Better, More Individualized Treatment

Researchers from Mount Sinai Health System have reported a possible link between Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s in patients of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, an advance that may have significance for the refinement of treatments for both conditions, according to the authors. The discovery involves the propensity of patients with Crohn’s disease to carry the LRRK2 gene mutation, a known major genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease. Lead researcher Inga Peter, PhD, professor of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, commented, “The presence of shared LRRK2 mutations in patients with Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease provides refined insight into disease mechanisms and may have major implications for the treatment of these two seemingly unrelated diseases.” The findings were published last week in Science Translational Medicine.

Using international data from the past 10 years, the team analyzed 24,570 patients of Jewish and non-Jewish descent, with Crohn’s, Parkinson’s, or neither condition. They found that patients with a so-called risk mutation of the LRRK2 gene developed Crohn’s disease an average of 6 years earlier than patients who did not, and that the disease tended to develop in the small intestine where it is more difficult to treat. Dr. Peter continued “Identifying genetic mutations associated with disease risk is an effective way to better understand disease mechanisms, identify individuals at risk, and develop novel drug targets to treat the disease. Our research may also help identify individuals who would benefit the most of LRRK2-directed therapies, thereby contributing to the field of personalized medicine.”

Read more about the research findings.

The journal abstract may be read here.

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