New research claims rheumatoid arthritis breakthrough
A drug that "blindfolds" white blood cells could provide a new way of treating rheumatoid arthritis, new research has shown.
The drug stops the destructive cells migrating to the joints, where they cause the typical damage associated with the disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease in which elements of the immune system attack the body.
White blood cells called T-cells are key players in the process.
Study leader Dr Graeme O'Boyle, from the University of Newcastle, said; "Imagine that the damaged joint is covered in flags which are signalling to the white blood cells. Traditional treatments have involved pulling down the flags one by one but what we have done is use an agent which in effect 'blindfolds' the white blood cells. Therefore, they don't know which way to travel and so won't add to the damage."
The study, funded by the charity Arthritis Research UK, is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Scientists carried out studies on a genetically engineered mouse with a human-like immune system.
They discovered that a compound called PS372424 blocked the ability of activated T-cells to invade joints.
Only the specific T-cells implicated in rheumatoid arthritis are affected.
Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said: "Although modern treatments have changed the outcome for many patients with rheumatoid arthritis, firstly not all patients respond to them and secondly, even in those patients who do respond in some way, we can't completely get rid of the inflammation that damages their joints.
"This research is very exciting, as although it is in its early stages, if it can be transferred to humans it could shut down the inflammation that causes rheumatoid arthritis."
The next stage is to improve the drug-like properties of PS372424 with a view to preparing it for clinical trials.
Life & Style blogs
Plus London's buy-to-let hotspots and a new property portal
Guest post by Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv chartered surveyors
Plus lateral thinking and living on London's waterways
The ten best home phones
Facial hair: Cat beards and the purrrsuit of excellence
Microsoft's Xbox One: Have the price (£399) and release date (30 November) been leaked by online retailer Zavvi?
Xbox One vs PlayStation 4: Why Microsoft's console name game just doesn't add up
The 10 Best salt and pepper sets
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.