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New Risk Gene For Rheumatoid Arthritis And Lupus

by Penny on September 9th, 2007

Scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Researchhave identified a critical gene that increases a person’s risk for rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, and may be involved with other autoimmune diseases. Genetic mapping enabled them to identify STAT4 located on chromosome 2 as a culprit in susceptibility to both diseases.

Peter K. Gregersen, MD, head of The Feinstein Institute’s Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics & Human Genetics says “About 22 percent of people in the United States inherit this particular form of STAT4. Having this variant of STAT4 confers a 30 percent increased risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis. People with two copies of STAT4 have a 60 percent increased risk, Dr. Gregersen said. Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful inflammatory condition of the joints. It is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system recognizes a product in the lining of the joint as foreign and wages an attack. Patients with lupus, also an autoimmune disease, have about double the risk compared to people without this variant of STAT4. Identifying this risk gene is important because it points us in the right direction”.

One percent of people will develop rheumatoid arthritis. There are probably dozens of genes, perhaps more, involved in triggering complex diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Other risk factor genes for auto-immune diseases include TRAF1-C5 and PTPN22.

The discovery of STAT4 can ultimately help scientists unravel the triggers for the disease, help in the development of a test to confirm a diagnosis and perhaps even help predict who will respond to treatments.

Penny Harrington

b5 media Genetics and Health corresponden


This is a letter from my friend Angellady:
Please read and pass on to others even those who do not have Lupus you can still write about friends or loved ones I don't have support from my family well yes I have it from my husband thank God he supports me so much and loves me.
I am sending this out to all of you, maybe you can take some time and write if you do not know anyone who has Lupus you can write that you know me share that you have a friend I do not care if you use my name or not I hate to ask but we need to let more people know about Lupus and support the Lupus foundation, so we can get message out about how serous Lupus is they make a big deal of cancer and other diseases but they seem to forget about Lupus and this is a disease that can kill because some of us do not look sick does not mean were healthy some of us are dieing and if you were to meet us we look healthy. Since I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2004 I have known people online who have died from Lupus it is serous disease. Young and old alike can get Lupus it can attack anyone at any time male or female yes it seems to get women more often but even men can get it and it seems that when men get it they tend to get it even more painful.

So please take this serious and if you can make the time to write please in the link below there is a page to go to and it will tell you where to write to and you can sign up for the news letter so you can see what we will be doing each week.
Please read below:
We are announcing a Lupus Awareness Media Campaign. We are starting a campaign to try to get some media attention for Lupus Awareness. Every week we will be picking a Television show, newspaper, magazine or radio show asking them to do stories/segments on Lupus. We will post our letters and the contact information for the media outlet we have chosen for that week. We ask all of you to write to these outlets as well.

The more letters they get, the more serious they will take us and the more likely they are to do the stories. Many of us have written these emails before, but if we coordinate so that they get hundreds of letters in the same week, maybe they will pay attention! You can write one letter and save it on your computer and send the same one to each media outlet. Or, you can do what we will be doing and have a basic letter that you can customize to each show, etc.

New picks will be posted every Friday. To see the picks or have them emailed to you weekly, visit
Just to fill you in if anyone uses me as the person you know who has Lupus
I was diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 39 I was in a wheel chair and was not able to walk and I stopped working in November of 2003 that was when I woke up and could not walk I applied for ssd in November of 2003 did not have insurance and did not know what was wrong with me from going to doctors to doctors I found out in August of 2004 that I had FMS and Lupus. I fought to get on SSD and in 2006 I was accepted on SSD thank God.
 I used to be a dancer, of ballet and Jazz and was very much in shape through the years the pain got worse and worse and I did not know what was wrong being young and dumb plus not having insurance I did not go to many doctors so now I am paying for meaning I have Lupus and I don't walk well and always in pain.
Lupus and FMS is affecting me thank God it has not affected my organs Lupus can affect the organs it just has affected my muscles and joints and causes me to not walk good it has affected my memory and I get infections often, I live in lots of pain I go to doctors often the last 6 months I been there every few weeks at a different specialist I am not sending this to you to feel bad for me I am sending this to you to fill you in about what Lupus has done to me. So if you do choose to write then you will know more about how it has affected me.
I am mainly home bound and I am dealing with it I have my up and down days I don't have many friends accept for you on line who I communicate with that is why I am sending this to you all.
 I am basically saying this so maybe this message will get to some people about what Lupus can do to people to read more stories of other people who have it way worse then I do go to google search or yahoo search and type in Lupus personal stories and you will have a bunch of stories that will come up. There are people dieing of this disease daily children and mothers wife's fathers it is not prejudice it can affect anyone of us. So please I ask maybe I am asking to much but please read this and write. Every week we will be having another place to write to so please join us in doing so to support each other.
Thanks hugs Angela aka Angellady
Visit me.
Do you know someone?
My friend Helen also from Angels that Care has great information on her site also.

this also needs our help