When the body naturally responds to inflammation such as joint swelling and pain from arthritis, the natural substance released is a certain type of protein.
But scientists have now developed a natural synthetic replica of this protein which can be injected into the body and effectively ‘reboots’ the body’s defences causing it to produce more of this pain response protein.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis in the UK, affecting around 400,000 adults, and is the commonest human autoimmune disease. It causes joint pain and swelling, stiffness, fatigue, and disability.
Although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in older people it also affects many people of working age, which has an impact on their personal finances and the wider UK economy. Up to 40 per cent of people with rheumatoid arthritis lose their jobs within five years because of their condition.[quote]The new research indicates that a booster jab of protein can have effects that last beyond the actual injection of protein as it causes the body to start producing more of this protein naturally, effectively prompting the defence system to start tackling inflammation again.[/quote]
Now the first human trails of the new natural drug will be carried out at King’s College inLondon. Scientists will test the effects of injecting a synthetic replica of binding immunoglobulin protein into 50 arthritis volunteers. The trial will take two years.
Initial results also show that binding immunoglobulin protein therapy may also inhibit osteoclasts (‘bone eating’ cells), making it a potential therapy for osteoporosis.
About three million people in theUK have osteoporosis, and more than 230,000 fractures a year occur in theUK because of it. One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will have a fracture mainly as a result of the condition.