Killing Cells to Stop Rheumatoid Arthritis

Promising news for sufferers of autoimmune conditions: "A researcher [has] invented a novel way to halt and even reverse rheumatoid arthritis. He developed an imitation of a suicide molecule that floats undetected into overactive immune cells responsible for the disease. ... This new therapy stopped the disease cold in 75 percent of the mice. The best part was we didn't see any toxicity. ... Healthy immune cells are supposed to die after they attack an invading virus or bacteria. But in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune cells called macrophages live and go rogue. They proliferate in the blood, build up in the joints and invade cartilage and bone. Currently, there is no effective, nontoxic way to stop them. ... immune cells in rheumatoid arthritis are low in a critical molecule called Bim, whose job is to order the cells to self-destruct. To correct that shortage, [researchers] developed an imitation of the molecule, called BH3 mimetic. When [injected into] mice with rheumatoid arthritis, it floated ghostlike into their macrophages and bam!, the misbehaving immune cells self destructed. ... the molecule could prevent the development of rheumatoid arthritis as well as trigger a remission of existing disease. ... the next step is to develop nanotechnology for a more precise method of delivering the drug."

Link: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2010/01/arthritis.html

Comments

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.