Researchers at the Feinstein Center for Medical Research in Manhassat, NY have discovered a genetic link between rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, further proof to support the theory that multiple autoimmune diseases could share risk genes. The Center’s findings were published in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study found that, although they have different diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus sufferers share a variant of the same gene (STAT4). Having this risk gene was associated with a 60% increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and a doubled risk of developing lupus.
What This Means for Those with RA or Lupus:
The research shows that therapies developed to treat one disease may possibly be able to treat the other. The findings could also prompt more studies that look at how autoimmune diseases begin and progress in the body, and how they may be connected to each other.
"STAT4 and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus." New England Journal of Medicine. September 6, 2007; 357(10):977-86.