A new groundbreaking study on multiple sclerosis has led to the discovery of 29 new gene variants that will likely transform the way scientists understand and pursue treatment for the disease.
The 29 new gene variants were found in internationally collaborative research that provided findings that will now offer scientists a view into the genetic aspects of MS disease.
The findings of the breakthrough study also promote and uphold the theory that MS is primarily an autoimmune disease because many of the genes that were discovered are genes that are linked to the immune system.
The study also revealed other significant findings, including five added associations that could be potentially informative upon more research, and that vitamin D deficiency could be a principal contributing factor to people who have the disease.
The discovery came after 250 scientists across the world compared DNA from nearly 10,000 people who currently have MS with 17,000 undiagnosed people.
The discovery has been called “mind boggling” and an “enormous step,” meanwhile scientists across the world are speculating that the discovery could lead to new treatments for the disease.
Dr. Alastair Compston, the study’s co-author, of the University of Cambridge told WedMD, “We have moved from three (genes linked) in 2007 to 57 now.”
Compston also said, “Our research settles a longstanding debate on what happens first in the complex sequence of events that leads to disability in multiple sclerosis.”
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease that impacts the brain and spinal cord of the individual and affects around 2.5 million Americans a year. Symptoms vary and from a tremor in the arms to legs to double vision to loss of memory and fatigue.
The study was published on Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.