Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Developed At UCSD Promises Improved Treatment Options

October 16, 2005
University of California - San Diego
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine have announced successful completion of Phase II clinical trials of a novel drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one that works without suppressing the patient's immune system.

Related Articles

Salvatore Albani, M.D., Ph.D, professor of medicine andpediatrics and Director of the Translational Research Unit of theClinical Investigation Institute (CII) at the UCSD School of Medicine,recently presented a summary of the findings at the “Frontiers ofClinical Investigation Symposium.” The symposium, sponsored by the CIIand Nature Medicine, was held in La Jolla, California in September.

Thenew drug, dnaJP1, is a peptide derived from a naturally occurringprotein, dnaJ, which generates inflammation in RA patients, whoseinflammatory-control mechanisms are impaired. The impairment causes thebody’s T cells – which trigger inflammation to kill and clear foreignpathogens in the body – to attack the body’s own tissues.

“Inessence, we re-educated the immune system T cells to be tolerant of thednaJP1 amino acid sequence, which would usually contribute toinflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients,” Albani said.

DnaJP1works by resetting the ability of the patient’s immune system totolerate dnaJ, thus transforming a potentially damaging trigger into atool for controlling the disease. Oral ingestion of dnaJP1 is key,because the mucosal immune system found in the gut has the ability to“teach” the body to view a protein as one that isn’t dangerous orforeign. Much as food is ingested into the body and not rejected, thebody tolerates dnaJP1.

Current medications for treating RA rangefrom anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, to corticosteroids andmedicines that alleviate symptoms by suppressing or killing the body’simmune response, basically crippling the body’s ability to defenditself against other infectious diseases or cancer.

“Such drugsare costly, have potentially dangerous side effects and areinconvenient to administer,” Albani said. “Our drug leaves thepatient’s natural immune responses intact. This differs profoundly fromwhat is currently available to patients.”

DnaJP1 was foundeffective in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial sponsored by theNational Institutes of Health, which took place between 2000 and 2005and involved 160 patients enrolled in centers nationwide includingUCSD, Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, the Mayo Clinic,and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. The technology wasdeveloped at UCSD and has been licensed for further development toAndroclus Therapeutics, a biotechnology company located in San Diegoand Milan, Italy. Dr. Albani is one of the company’s co-founders.

Patientsreceived 25mg of dnaJP1 daily by mouth for six months, and thetreatment was found to be safe and well-tolerated. When compared with aplacebo, patients in the treatment group experienced lessening ofsymptoms such as swollen joints, tenderness, pain and decreasedmobility. Improvement was particularly significant at the follow upvisits, indicating a lasting effect of the drug. Efficacy wasquantified in data generated from physicians, patients andlaboratories, measuring improvement according to standards set by theAmerican College of Rheumatology (ACR) from the beginning to laterpoints in the trial. For instance, “ACR 20” indicates a 20% improvementin standardized symptoms. ACR 20 response was in the 50-55% range; ACR50 in the 30-40% range; and ACR 70 in the 15-20% range of patientscompleting the trial.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammation ofthe joints, is a chronic, painful disease affecting one percent of theU.S. population, or more than 2 million people. It occurs three timesmore often in women than men, targeting people of every age. Thecondition simultaneously strikes joints on both sides of the body, suchas the hands or feet or knees but can also affect the skin, eyes,lungs, heart, blood, nerves or kidneys. It is an incurable disease,with most therapies focusing on symptom relief.

“Although thecurrent available drugs pose risks to patients, the first two trials ofdnaJP1 have not raised any significant safety concerns and offer animproved treatment option for patients with rheumatoid arthritis,” saidAlbani. The next step, according to Albani, is to get approval andfunding to move into Phase III clinical trials.

“This is a veryexciting and novel therapeutic approach, which holds the promise to bean entirely new type of immunomodulatory drug – one that can shape apatient’s immune system, rather than suppressing it,” said Gary S.Firestein, M.D., Director of CII (http://cii.ucsd.edu/), which providesUCSD faculty with an infrastructure to support the translation offundamental biology into novel therapeutic interventions. “It is alsoan Institute success story because it represents a true ‘bench tobedside’ research model.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "New Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Developed At UCSD Promises Improved Treatment Options." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051015091721.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2005, October 16). New Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Developed At UCSD Promises Improved Treatment Options. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051015091721.htm
University of California - San Diego. "New Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Developed At UCSD Promises Improved Treatment Options." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051015091721.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This

More From ScienceDaily

More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins