Assay opens way to autoantibodies treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

pharmafile | February 27, 2017 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing rheumatoid arthritis 

A new discovery, conducted by researchers at the NYU Langone Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh, has pointed towards a potential shift in the way that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) could be treated. Most medication for RA currently treat the inflammation but the research points towards treating the immune system’s B cells that were found to play an important role in RA.

The immune system’s B cells produce defective molecules that attack the body’s proteins. If researchers are able to find a way to identify and stop the immune system’s B cells from producing these cells then it would offer an alternative to simply curing the result of the condition – inflammation. The researchers were able to create an assay that was able to pinpoint the level autoimmunity in an individual.

“We have developed a test for measuring the underlying autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis patients that should be used to evaluate new treatment regimens,” says senior author Gregg Silverman, Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology at NYU Langone and co-director of its Musculoskeletal Center of Excellence. “We believe this provides a road to a cure for rheumatoid arthritis.”

Currently, as mentioned, the method of treatment treats the resulting inflammation but the issues reoccur when the treatment is stopped. The study focused on a type of ‘memory’ B cells that are able to remember the instance where the body began to attack its own proteins. The cells produce molecules called anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) which are currently used to diagnose patients with RA.

“We need to develop longer-term vision of how to improve the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis,” Silverman continued. “This new tool may show that agents that target other molecules or cells have advantages that were previously not considered now that we can better measure those effects.”

Ben Hargreaves

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