Interleukin Genetics Inc. Initiates Study of Genetics of Osteoarthritis with New York University Medical Center

WALTHAM, Mass., Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Interleukin Genetics, Inc. announced today that it has initiated a study on the genetics of osteoarthritis in collaboration with Dr. Steven Abramson, Director of the Division of Rheumatology at the Hospital for Joint Diseases of New York University Medical Center.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the breakdown of the cartilage cushion in one or more joints of the body leading to pain, to limitation in movement, and in many cases to joint replacement. More than 20 million adults in the United States currently have some form of OA, with the number expected to double over the next 50 years. Therapy for OA patients involves mostly pain management, and no drugs are currently available to limit the cartilage and bone destruction.

Some patients have OA in one joint that may have resulted from a prior injury, but many OA patients have a more generalized form of the disease affecting multiple joints. The generalized form of OA is often the most challenging in terms of patient management.

"We have been working for several years to better understand why some of our patients develop a more generalized form of OA with problems in multiple joints," said Dr. Abramson. "Together with Interleukin Genetics we will seek to determine if over-expression of certain disease-related chemicals by some OA patients may be due to genetic differences, and whether the genetic differences may increase the likelihood of developing disease in multiple joints."

"Interleukin Genetics is pleased to be working with Dr. Abramson and his team at the Hospital for Joint Diseases at NYU Medical Center," said Dr. Ken Kornman, Chief Scientific Officer of Interleukin Genetics. "OA impacts tens of millions of people around the world, who can now only turn to pain medication for temporary relief. We have identified genetic patterns that lead to over-production of interleukin-1, one of the key chemicals involved in cartilage and bone destruction, and this study will help to determine if genetic tests can be used to identify subgroups of OA patients that may be treated more effectively."

About the Study

Interleukin Genetics is investigating whether there is an association between candidate gene variations, either individually or in composite patterns, and poly-articular manifestations of osteoarthritis (OA), defined in this study as the prevalence of knee and hand OA. The study will also evaluate the association between certain genetic patterns and the peripheral blood mononuclear cell expression of interleukin-1 Beta in OA patients. Interleukin-1 Beta is one of the main chemicals involved in destruction of collagen and bone.

Variations in the interleukin-1 (IL-1) gene family have been shown to be associated with increased risk for other diseases that involve bone and connective tissues, including osteoporosis and periodontal disease. Using its proprietary IL-1 technology, Interleukin Genetics is now collaborating with NYU Medical Center and the Division of Rheumatology to study IL-1 genetic links to the form of osteoarthritis that affects multiple joints and may be the result of a systemic over-expression of key biological mediators, such as interleukin-1 Beta.

This study is under the direction of Dr. Steven Abramson, Director of the Division of Rheumatology and Dr. Mukundan Attur, Director of the Rheumatology Research Laboratory at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common adult joint disease, increasing in frequency and severity in all aging populations. The estimated U.S. prevalence is 20-40 million patients or 5 times that of rheumatoid arthritis. OA involvement of the hand, knee, hip and spine is common, with total knee replacements numbering over 250,000/yr and total hip replacements numbering over 150,000 per year in the U.S. alone. OA may involve a single joint or multiple joints in the same individual, with current therapy focused on pain relief as there is no FDA-approved therapy that arrests or reverses the joint deterioration. The etiology of OA is multifactorial involving both mechanical and biochemical factors. OA progression is associated with accelerated cartilage degradation leading to joint space narrowing, painful joint disruption, and functional compromise. The pattern of expression for OA in many ways mimics that of osteoporosis in that it is more common in women than in men, and it appears to be related to postmenopausal changes with hormone replacement therapy suppressing cartilage degradation. OA disease progression is characterized by a proinflammatory gene expression pattern in cartilage and in joint synovium, with a reactive increase in bone density in the subchondral bone. Substantial data provide support for a central role of interleukin-1 in the pathogenesis of OA including animal susceptibility models and models of IL-1-targeted therapy.

About Interleukin

Interleukin Genetics, Inc. is a genetics-focused personalized health company that develops preventive consumer products and genetic tests for sale to the emerging personalized health market. Focused on the future of health and medicine, Interleukin uses its leading genetics research and scientific capabilities to develop and test innovative preventive and therapeutic products. Interleukin currently offers an array of Nutraceuticals and OTCeuticals, including Ginkoba(R), Ginsana(R) and Venastat(R) which are sold at the nation's largest food, drug and mass retailers, and has commercialized genetic tests for periodontal disease risk assessment, cardiovascular risk assessment, and general nutrition assessment. Interleukin is headquartered in Waltham, MA. For more information about Interleukin and its ongoing programs, please visit

Certain statements contained herein are "forward-looking" statements including statements regarding our ability to develop diagnostic, personalized nutritional and therapeutic products to prevent or treat diseases of inflammation and other genetic variations, our ability to screen nutritional compounds for their effects on inflammatory responses and other genetic variations, given specific genetic patterns and our ability to make progress in advancing our core technologies. Because such statements include risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward- looking statements include, but are not limited to, the risk of market acceptance of our products, the risk of technology and product obsolescence, delays in product development, the performance of our commercial partners, the availability of adequate capital, the actions of our competitors and other competitive risks, and those risks and uncertainties described in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006 as amended, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, our quarterly reports on Form 10- Q and other filings made by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We disclaim any obligation or intention to update these forward-looking statements.

For Interleukin Genetics: Paul Voegelin (781) 398-0700 Additional Contact for Media Erin Duggan (212) 445-8238, Weber Shandwick

Interleukin Genetics, Inc.

CONTACT: Paul Voegelin, for Interleukin Genetics, +1-781-398-0700; or ErinDuggan of Weber Shandwick, +1-212-445-8238

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