British scientists plan to start tests on a novel vaccine against rheumatoid arthritis, which could suppress the effects of the joint condition using patients' own blood cells.
A team from Newcastle University will test the effectiveness of the vaccine in eight volunteers in a pilot study. If successful, there will then be larger clinical trials.
John Isaacs, professor of clinical rheumatology, said the work was at a very early stage but was "hugely exciting".
The idea is to help the body cure itself. A similar technique has been used in cancer research but this is the first time it has been adapted to rheumatoid arthritis.
In healthy people, the immune system protects the body by fighting infection. But in auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis it attacks body tissue, causing inflammation.
The new vaccine involves chemical manipulation of a patient's own white blood cells, so that they develop into so-called tolerogenic dendritic cells, which are thought to suppress immune system activity.
Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured but treatment has been revolutionised in the past decade by the introduction of modern anti-TNF medicines.
Anti-TNF drugs, which must be injected, have become multibillion-dollar products for companies like Abbott Laboratories, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson.
Last Mod: 16 Ağustos 2008, 18:17