Gene link for Multiple Sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was first identified and described by a French neurologist, Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, in 1868. It is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada. Women are twice as likely to develop MS as men. Every day, three more people in Canada are diagnosed with it. It can cause loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis.

A collaborative group of Canadian, American and British scientists has identified an important role for two genes known to play key roles in the immune system. These findings suggest a possible link between MS and other autoimmune diseases. The study is the first comprehensive study investigating the genetic basis of MS. These findings appear in the July 29 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Dr. John Rioux, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Université de Montréal and at the Montreal Heart Institute where he works as a researcher and director of the Laboratory in Genetics and Genomic Medicine of Inflammation as well as visiting scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Genetics and Genomic Medicine of Inflammation and one of the authors of this study.

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