UNMC helps find RA genetic risk factor

As part of a nationwide consortium, UNMC research identified a new risk factor gene for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) - a crippling disorder that affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population. The gene, dubbed, REL, contributes to the regulation of immune response. Scientists hope the find genetic triggers and identify treatments that block this autoimmune process.

Research lab photo

UNMC faculty member Ted Mikulus, MD collaborated in the study that included more than 300 rheumatoid arthritis patients from the Veterans Affairs Rheumatoid Arthritis Registry (VARA).

Dr. Mikuls and James O'Dell, MD said the identification of the genetic risk factor is another important clue into understanding the complex disease.

Experts said this particular genetic variant is rather common, found in about a third of people in North America.

Read more about this arthritis study.