November 10, 2008

New Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapy Proposed

A U.S.-led international group of scientists has identified a potential therapeutic target to treat inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery said their finding reveals two molecular pathways, the Notch and Toll-like receptor pathways, are linked and that manipulating a protein called RBP-J involved in both pathways, could serve as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

"This is a basic science (paper) with translational and clinical implications, as it identifies a potential new therapeutic target in the treatment of inflammatory disorders," said Dr. Lionel Ivashkiv, the hospital's director of basic research.

"Before this study, we knew that the Notch pathway was important in development and that the Toll-like receptor pathways were important in acute inflammation, and now we know that those two things are linked in acute inflammation and cytokine production," said Ivashkiv.

The work that included Dr. Xiaoyu Hu, Allen Chung, Jong Dae Ji and Indira Wu, as well as scientists from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Japan's Kyoto University, the Scripps Research Institute and Germany's University of Wurzburg is to appear in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Immunity.