January 14, 2022

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Development of an experimental rheumatoid arthritis vaccine

Researchers at the University of Toledo in the United States have developed an experimental vaccine that shows promising results in the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis, a painful autoimmune disease that cannot currently be cured. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Significant advances in the study of rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases in general.

One of the most common autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and breaks down healthy tissue, most notably the lining of the joints in the hands, wrists, ankles and knees. Some estimates suggest that rheumatoid arthritis affects up to 1% of the world’s population, according to For a newspaper report neuroscience Scientific.

Dr Ritu Chakravarty, associate professor in the Utoledo School of Medicine and Life Sciences and lead author of the research paper, said: ‘Despite its widespread prevalence, there is no cure and we do not fully know why it appears. It’s very difficult if we can successfully introduce this vaccine into the clinic, it will be revolutionary.”

Chakravarty has studied for years a protein called 14-3-3 zeta and its role in immune diseases, including aortic aneurysms and interleukin-17, a cytokine linked to autoimmune diseases..

Instead of preventing rheumatoid arthritis, researchers discovered that removing the protein through a gene-editing technique caused early onset of acute arthritis in animal models, by working under a new theory that 14-3-3 zeta protects against rheumatoid arthritis. The team developed a protein-based vaccine using a purified 14-3-3 zeta protein grown in a bacterial cell.

They found that the vaccine promoted a strong, immediate but long-lasting response from the body’s innate immune system, providing protection against disease..

Chakravarty said: ‘Rheumatoid arthritis has completely disappeared in animals that received a vaccine. Sometimes there is no better method than by chance. We got the wrong result, but it turned out to be the best result. These kinds of scientific discoveries are very important in this field. “.

In addition to suppressing the development of arthritis, the vaccine also significantly improved bone quality, a finding that suggests there should be long-term benefits after immunization..

Currently, rheumatoid arthritis is treated primarily with corticosteroids, broad-based immunosuppressive drugs, or newer, more targeted biologic drugs that target a specific inflammatory process..

While these treatments can relieve pain and slow disease progression, they can make patients more susceptible to infection and, in the case of biopharmaceuticals, can be costly.