Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Scientists Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis in Mice

By Deborah Mitchell 

2014-08-11 10:26
rheumatoid arthritis cure
Anyone who suffers with rheumatoid arthritis may be interested to hear that scientists have now been able to cure this often debilitating disease in mice. The next step will be to test how the discovery in people who have the disease.
A team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (aka ETH Zurich) developed a treatment approach that consists of an antibody combined with interleukin 4 (IL-4). IL-4 is a protein that plays a significant role in the immune system, as it helps develop mast cells, activated B cells, and resting T cells, which are key to immune function.
Previous research has shown that IL-4 offers protection against bone and cartilage damage in mice withrheumatoid arthritis. Now scientists have taken this knowledge to new heights and developed an injectable drug that cures the disease in these animals.
New rheumatoid arthritis study
The unique combination developed by the researchers allows the drug to target the swollen joints that are the hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis. The ability to focus treatment helps reduce the risk of side effects.
The afflicted mice were treated in two ways: with the new combination drug and along with dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug that is already prescribed to treat the disease. Dexamethasone is a synthetic corticosteroid that helps block inflammation, but it also suppresses the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infection.
The researchers found that while their new drug and dexamethasone individually slowed progression of rheumatoid arthritis when either substance was administered to the mice, the combination of the two drugs caused complete resolution of the disease. In fact: