“Highly effective” rheumatoid arthritis treatment possible after breakthrough

pharmafile | September 7, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production  

A “highly effective” treatment for rheumatoid arthritis could be made available in several years after scientists have uncovered a new cause for the condition.

Researchers have found for the first time that damage to the lining of the gut plays a key role in disease by making it leaky.

A leaky gut allows bacteria to cross the gut lining into the body, intensifying inflammation in the stomach and the joints.

Additionally, the researchers have identified already existing stomach-repairing drugs used for the digestive disorders, coeliac disease, and Crohn’s disease that could be used treat rheumatoid, which affects about 400,000 people in the UK.

Laboratory tests on human tissue and mice samples found two potential drugs to treat the disease, AT1001, usually used for Coeliac disease, and vercirnon, a treatment already being used on the NHS to treat Crohn’s.

The researchers are now working towards a clinical trial involving one or more of these drugs in humans for rheumatoid arthritis.

As reported in i News, Professor Claudia Mauri, of University College London, said: “Our findings are exciting. They suggest that the stomach lining is a therapeutic target. Importantly, we found that using existing drugs that restore the gut-barrier integrity, could reduce the severity of arthritis.”

Professor Simon Milling, of the University of Glasgow who edits the British Society for Immunology’s journal Immunology, said: “This is an exciting study [that] may help to identify new ways to treat arthritis in some patients.”

Dr Neha Issar-Brown, Director of Research at Versus Arthritis said: “The findings are exciting on many fronts. Not only do they demonstrate a link between damage to the gut lining, its microbiome and rheumatoid arthritis, but they also show how it might be triggering the immune system and contributing to inflammation and the onset of RA. This research is truly impactful in opening new avenues for exploration.”

Lilly Subbotin

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