New treatment trialled for rheumatoid arthritis

A NEW treatment for the underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis may become available thanks to the development of a vaccine-style treatment by researchers at the University of Queensland.

Immunologist Professor Ranjeny Thomas of UQ's Diamantina Institute said initial clinical trial results showed the treatment was safe and effective in suppressing the body's immune response.

"We have designed a vaccine-style treatment or immunotherapy specifically for individuals carrying high-risk rheumatoid arthritis genes and specific rheumatoid arthritis antibodies, called anti-CCP," Prof Thomas said.

"This type of rheumatoid arthritis is called CCP-positive and accounts for the majority of cases."

In a sample of the patients' blood, cells were taken and immune cells extracted and then challenged with the foreign peptide and an immune system modulator before being injected back into the patient.

Prof Thomas said a single injection of the patient's own immune-modified dendritic cells was found to be safe and to help suppress the immune response in rheumatoid arthritis and was also associated with reduced inflammation.

"At this stage, the technique would not be ideal for widespread treatment or prevention of rheumatoid arthritis because it's costly and time-consuming," Prof Thomas said.

"However, the promising results of this trial lay the foundations for the development of a more cost-effective, clinically-practical vaccine technology that could deliver similar outcomes for patients."

Courtesy: National Seniors Connect


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