Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New hope for vaccine to fight rheumatoid arthritis, other autoimmune diseases

29.10.2002


Promising animal test results that could lead to a vaccine to fight rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases were announced by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The vaccine reversed an arthritic-like disease in rats by mobilizing part of the immune system to protect joints under attack by other immune cells. The work was reported in two related papers in the September Journal of Immunology .



Autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, are among the most widespread of serious chronic diseases. In arthritis, immune cells attack the joints, while in MS, they attack the myelin sheaths of nerve cells.

Current treatments involve either steroids, which fight inflammation caused by the immune system attacks, or immuno-suppressant drugs, which depress immune system function generally. Both these approaches create serious side effects and can only slow, but not stop, the progress of the diseases. They are also effective mostly at very early stages of each disease.


The new approach, in contrast, tries to rally one part of the immune system to fight the part that is attacking the body’s tissues. "We know that, in autoimmune diseases, immune cells use chemical markers, called cytokines and chemokines, to induce inflammation that destroys organs," explains Dr. Nathan Karin of the Technion’s Department of Immunology and the research team leader. "These proteins also attract white blood cells that, in the case of arthritis, attack joint tissues, and in the case of MS, attack brain components. Our method helps the immune system itself interfere with this process."

In untreated arthritis, part of the immune system detects one of the chemical markers, called IP-10, recognizes that it is wrongly labeling the body’s own cells for attack, and destroys it. But while these naturally produced antibodies can slow, they cannot stop the progression of these diseases. In effect, there is a "civil war" within the immune system itself, with one part attacking and the other part protecting the body’s own cells. The new approach seeks to help the "good" part of the immune system in its fight with the "bad" or autoimmune part.

The researchers first identified that IP-10 is one of the specific proteins responsible for the progression of these diseases, and more importantly that the immune system tries to restrain the harmful activity of IP-10 by producing auto-antibodies against it. They then generated a special vaccine that amplifies the production of these beneficial antibodies. This vaccine rapidly suppressed experimentally induced rheumatoid arthritis and MS.

Dr. Karin hopes that for rheumatoid arthritis this approach will replace older treatments, which are extremely expensive and require many repeated immunizations, and that it will also open new horizons for the therapy of MS.

"We are hopeful that the gene-based vaccine will be much better, since only a few vaccinations are needed to train the immune system to destroy IP-10, and the rat results indicate that chronic relief may be possible," says Karin.

While the vaccine will interfere with IP-10 when the immune system uses it to label actual invaders such as bacteria, Karin does not expect this will cause serious side effects.

"There are some 50 chemicals that the immune system uses to label cells to be attacked," he points out. "Knocking out one will not seriously weaken the immune system’s response to infection or cancer. But in autoimmune diseases, where one part of the immune system is fighting another, eliminating IP-10 will shift the balance, giving the edge to the part that is protecting the body."

The next step is to move towards clinical tests of the vaccine in humans. Clinical tests are now planned for MS patients, and the group is negotiating with an as yet unnamed major U.S. pharmaceutical company.


The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, known as "Israel’s MIT," is Israel’s leading scientific and technological center for applied research and education. It commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in computer science, biotechnology, water-resource management, materials engineering, aerospace and medicine. Based in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) is the leading American organization supporting higher education in Israel.


Martha Molnar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.technion.ac.il/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>