Researchers find cure for arthritis

8 August 2014

Researchers have developed a new therapeutic product which has been able to cure arthritis in mice for the first time, with experts now planning to test the efficacy of the drug in humans.

The drug is a biotechnologically produced active substance consisting of two fused components, with one being the body’s own immune messenger interleukin 4 (IL-4), which has been shown to protect mice with rheumatoid arthritis against cartilage and bone damage.

ETH scientists have coupled an antibody to IL-4 that, based on the key-lock principle, binds to a form of a protein that is found only in inflamed tissue in certain diseases, and in tumour tissue.

As a result of combination with the antibody, IL-4 reaches the site of the disease when the fusion molecule is injected into the body, says pharmacist and co-lead author Teresa Hemmerle, working under Dario Neri, a professor at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

She commented: "It allows us to concentrate the active substance at the site of the disease. The concentration in the rest of the body is minimal, which reduces side-effects."

Based on the promising results from the animal model, Philochem is currently preparing to test the new drug in clinical trials on people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, beginning next year.

Posted by Edward Bartel

 

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