Ankylosing spondylitis and each of the spondyloarthropathies are areas of active research. The relationship between infectious agents and the triggering of chronic inflammation is vigorously being pursued. Factors that perpetuate "autoimmunity" are being identified. The characteristics of the gene marker HLA-B27 are being further defined. In fact, there are now known to be seven different subtypes of HLA-B27.
The impact of the recent discovery of the two additional genes, ARTS1 and IL23R, associated with ankylosing spondylitis cannot be overstated. These genes seem to play a role in influencing immune function. It is anticipated that, by understanding the effects of each of these known genes, researchers will make significant progress in discovering a cure for ankylosing spondylitis.
As more about the precise mechanisms these genes use to influence the immune system is understood, the discovery of a cure will be possible. Moreover, results of ongoing research will lead to a better understanding and treatment of the entire group of diseases collectively known as spondyloarthropathies.
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