Health Discoveries in Colorectal Cancers

More than 30 genetic connections made to risk of developing ulcerative colitis

April 30, 2010
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have identified more than 30 genetic connections to the risk of developing ulcerative colitis, according to a study published in Nature Genetics.

The research team reviewed the genes of nearly 13,000 patients to help explain why the severity of the disease, its symptoms and response to therapy differs so greatly from patient to patient.

"This gives us a number of insights into the disease," said Dr. Dermot P.B. McGovern, of the Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai. "An increased understanding of the genetics gives us some insight into what causes ulcerative colitis and will potentially help us identify new therapies."

Ulcerative colitis, which puts individuals at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, is a chronic digestive disorder diagnosed in about 30,000 cases annually in the U.S. It is one of the most common types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans. Typical symptoms include abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea and bleeding from the rectum, as well as fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite.

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, the Digestive Disease Institute has researched pancreatitis, gastroesophageal reflux and hepatitis among other health conditions. Planned clinical trials include studies on ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19753921-ADNFCR
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