A genetic variant may be linked to a patient’s likelihood of responding to interferon-beta therapy in multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported. Findings from the study are published in the Annals of Neurology.

In the study, researchers conducted a genome-wide association study in patients with MS who were being treated with interferon-beta. The detected variant, SLC9A9, was found to have a confirmed but modest role in MS. Laboratory analysis showed that the loss of the SLC9A9 gene may provoke harmful immune reactions in immune cells. Data revealed further that the gene variant SLC9A9 may play a bigger role in regulating the development and activity of other cells that are involved in inflammatory disease like MS.

RELATED: Key Cytokine Discovery May Shape Future MS Treatment

Larger studies will be needed to understand the role of genetic variation in MS, researchers concluded. More research to validate these results in other groups of patients will be necessary, especially in those treated with other MS drugs to see if genetic variation is limited to interferon-beta therapy or not.

For more information visit brighamandwomens.org.