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Congratulations to NDORMS researcher Dr Hussein Al-Mossawi on winning one of the six European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Abstract Awards 2018 in Basic Science at this year's EULAR Congress.

The award refers to Hussein's work in the genetics of Ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a painful and progressive form of inflammatory arthritis, affecting around 200,000 people in the UK. AS is an autoimmune disease with a strong genetic basis and commonly occurs in men in their late teens or 20s. The disease causes inflammation in the spine and other joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and disability.

"I am delighted to receive the EULAR Abstract award in Basic Science for our work in Ankylosing spondylitis. This is recognition of how we are using resources like the UK Biobank to understand the role of genetics on immune function in this condition and we very much hope this work will help develop new treatments for patients", said Dr Al-Mossawi.

In an innovative approach, this study uses unbiased data from previously published expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) studies to inform the relevant cell types and contexts of genetic variants involved in altering immune function AS.

The study highlights a previously unknown genetic role for Interleukin 7 (IL-7) signalling in monocytes and has implications for understanding pathogenesis across a range of diseases including multiple sclerosis.

The aim of the study was to characterise the genotypic effects of IL-7 receptor (IL7R) polymorphism on monocyte protein surface expression and soluble IL7R release. The results showed disease associated genetic variation in the IL7R gene impacts IL-7 biology in a monocyte delimited manner in the setting of inflammation.

Hear from Hussein on the research

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