The image shows an implant consisting of a woven scaffold lined with cartilage cells genetically modified to release a drug in response to inflammation. (Photo: Guilak lab / Washington University)
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes painful inflammation in various joints in the body, typically the hands and feet.
Swelling occurs in the affected joints, and the disease can also destroy cartilage and bone as it progresses.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects between 0.5 and 1 percent of the world’s population, according to some estimates.
So far, there is no cure for the disease, only drugs to slow its progress and, at best, stop it at the stage it has reached. These treatments, however, can have quite annoying side effects.
The situation could change in the near future, judging by the promising results obtained in experiments with mice by the team of Farshid Guilak, from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.
With the goal of developing rheumatoid arthritis therapies with minimal side effects, Guilak and his colleagues genetically modified cells in such a way that, when implanted in mice, they reléase a biological drug in response to inflammation.
In the experiments, the modified cells reduced inflammation and prevented a type of bone damage, known as bone erosion, in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis.
The ultimate goal of the research team is to develop therapies for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Guilak’s team presents the technical details of their experimental treatment in the academic journal Science Advances, under the title “A genome-engineered bioartificial implant for autoregulated anticytokine drug delivery.”
(Source: NCYT from Amazings)