Greek researchers open the way to treat rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers found a new biological molecular mechanism that causes rheumatoid arthritis, which may be a future goal of a new treatment for this specific condition, at the Alexander Fleming Research Center for Biomedical Sciences, together with their Greek colleagues from the University of Cologne, as well as foreign scientists from the universities of Ghent and Tokyo.
The research team, on the Greek side, was attended by the scholar George Kollias and Dr. Marietta Armakas of “Fleming”, as well as Professor Manolis Pasparakis -head of the study- and Dr. Apostolos Polykratis -first author of the scientific publication- of the University of Cologne .
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and progressively worsening inflammatory condition that affects the joints of the body, causing a painful swelling and, along the way, joint damage and deformity. 1% to 2% of the population suffers from the condition, which significantly affects the quality of life of patients.
To date, no treatment has been found for rheumatoid arthritis and the progression of the disease can only be slowed down in most patients by the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs. However, the molecular mechanisms that cause rheumatoid arthritis have largely been unknown. Understanding these biological mechanisms is important and can help develop new therapies.
The new research, published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, illuminated the biology of the disease a little bit more, indicating that the “guilty” inflammatory response of the body may be triggered by the fact that a class of immune cells, macrophages, die due to cell death that causes inflammation.
The research team managed to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, blocking the cellular death of macrophages by means of a protein (A20). This discovery opens new healing paths for the future. Several drug companies are already developing new drugs that inhibit cell death, which is expected to help patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.