In a discovery that can fundamentally change how drugs for arthritis, and potentially many other diseases, are made, University of Utah medical researchers have identified a way to treat inflammation while potentially minimizing a serious side effect of current medications: the increased risk for infection.
These findings provide a new roadmap for making powerful anti-inflammatory medicines that will be safer not only for arthritis patients but also for millions of others with inflammation-associated diseases, such as diabetes, traumatic brain injury, and inflammatory bowel disease, according to cardiologist Dean Y. Li, M.D., Ph.D., the U School of Medicine vice dean for research and HA and Edna Benning endowed professor of medicine who led the study. "This can change the way medication is made," he says. "If we can find a way to replace our most powerful drugs for arthritis, we might be able to develop another way to treat inflammation in other diseases that we've been unable to touch because of the danger of suppressing people's immune systems."
The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, Nature online, provides the University the opportunity to explore commercializing the technology either through collaboration outside of the state with pharmaceutical companies or within the state via initiatives such as USTAR. The Utah Legislature established USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research) initiative in 2006 to promote economic growth and high paying jobs through research at the U of U and Utah State University.
"This is just one example of many scientific opportunities for the University and USTAR to work together to benefit not only millions of patients but build medical innovations in Utah," says Li, who's also director of the U of U Molecular Medicine program.
Two Cellular Pathways
When the body undergoes trauma or gets an infection, it responds by releasing cytokines—proteins that enter cells and unleash a three-pronged attack to kill invading bugs, hype up the immune system, and cause inflammation. While inflammation fights infection, it also produces an undesired side effect by weakening blood vessels, which can lead to swelling in the joints, brain or other areas. Scientists long have believed that cytokines use one cellular pathway in their response to infection, meaning that drugs made to block cytokines from causing inflammation also block the immune system and the ability to kill invading bugs.
In a study with mice, Li and his research colleagues upended the one-pathway belief by showing that cytokines use not one but two cellular pathways to battle infection: one to turn on the immune system and kill intruders and a separate one that destroys the architecture of tissues and organs. Identifying the separate pathway for inflammation has vast potential for developing drugs. "We can selectively block inflammation without making the patient immunosuppressed," Li says. "This rewrites the strategy for today's medicines. We focused the work on arthritis given this is a proven market for drugs that reduce damage from inflammation and fibrosis, but we suspect that many other diseases ranging from fibrosis following heart attacks to inflammatory bowel disease may benefit from such an approach."
Li's discovery has dramatic implications for the field of rheumatology, according to Tracy M. Frech, M.D., U of U assistant professor of internal medicine who specializes in rheumatology. "This may lead to more effective treatments for conditions such as lupus, systemic sclerosis, and the spectrum of inflammatory arthritis, without putting patients at risk for infections," she says. "This phenomenal work is a credit to the strong molecular medicine program here at the University of Utah."
Before a new generation of anti-inflammation drugs can be made, researchers must screen for molecules of chemical compounds that can be turned in pharmaceutical-grade drugs, something the University can and should do, according to Li. This can be accomplished either through collaboration with pharmaceutical companies outside of the state or with sources inside Utah, such as the USTAR initiative.
This study was funded by NIH grants:#R01HL068873
Phil Sahm | EurekAlert!
Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News