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Genetic Marker for Drug Risk in Multiple Sclerosis Offers Path toward Precision Medicine

By July 24, 2018No Comments

A team of researchers has uncovered a specific gene variant associated with an adverse drug reaction resulting in liver injury in a people with multiple sclerosis (MS). It is the first time researchers have been able to establish a validated genetic marker for a drug-induced harm in people with MS.

Published today in the journal Nature Genetics, the findings inform a broader understanding of genetic risk of drug reactions in MS and may lead to clinically useful tests for more individualized approaches to MS treatment and care.

MS rates in Canada are the highest in the world, and the disease affects an estimated 100,000 Canadians. Most people diagnosed with MS are young adults between the ages of 15 and 40 but the disease can also be diagnosed in young children and older adults. MS results from the body’s immune system attacking myelin, the fatty material that insulates neurons and enables rapid transmission of electrical signals. When myelin is damaged, communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted, leading to vision problems, muscle weakness, difficulty with balance and coordination, and cognitive impairments.