The crippling pain of arthritis could be eased for millions of people following a scientific breakthrough.
New nanoparticles have been found to be effective for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Just one dose of state-of-the-art medicine could provide patients with a degree of relief, say scientists, following trials with lab mice.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects two to three times as many women as men, with people most likely to develop the condition between the ages of 40 and 60.
Now a team of Korean scientists have developed a new solution for the treatment of RA that currently has no cure.
Study first author Dr. Sagang Koo said: “The disease triggers a mix of troublesome symptoms like inflamed joints, harmful cytokines, and immune system imbalances, which work together to create a relentless cycle of worsening symptoms.
“While targeting some of these factors can provide short-term relief, others remain unresolved, leading to a frustrating cycle of remission and flare-ups.”
Dr. Koo explained that one of the major hurdles in RA treatment is the inability to restore the immune system to its healthy state.
She said that leaves the body unable to control the continuous production of harmful substances – such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inflammatory cytokines – leading to persistent inflammation and discomfort.
Dr. Koo said: “In essence, the ideal treatment for RA should not only provide immediate relief from inflammation and symptoms but also address the root cause by restoring the immune system to its normal, balanced state.”
She explained that the new platform involves immobilizing ceria nanoparticles (Ce NPs) onto mesenchymal stem cell-derived nanovesicles (MSCNVs).
Dr. Koo said: “Both of these components can hinder different pathogenic factors, allowing them to work both individually and cooperatively to achieve a comprehensive treatment.
“In short, this approach aims to bridge both innate and adaptive immunity to achieve both short-term pain relief, as well as convert the tissue environment into an immune-tolerant state to prevent the recurrence of symptoms.”
The research team confirmed the efficacy of the approach using a collagen-induced arthritis mouse model.
The Ce-MSCNV system was able to “comprehensively treat” and prevent RA by simultaneously relieving the immediate and restoring T cell immunity.
Dr. Koo said: “Supporting data suggest that improvement in conditions can be achieved after only a single-dose treatment.
“The mice treated with the Ce-MSCNV combination fared far better compared to the ones only treated using the Ce NP or MSCNV group.
“This clearly demonstrates the synergy between anti-inflammation and immunomodulation and underlines the importance of the combined therapy for effective RA treatment.
“In addition, Ce-MSCNV administration prior to booster injection markedly reduced the incidence and severity of symptoms, supporting the prophylactic potential of these nanoparticles.”
She added: “One of the hardest decisions in intractable disease therapy is determining how long the treatment should be carried on.
“For RA, it would not be appropriate to stop treatment just because the target marker is stabilized.
“A safer indicator should be that the innate and adaptive components of the collapsed immune system are normalized to protect the body.”
Dr. Koo believes that a similar approach would also be applicable to other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
She said: “Overall, this study proves the potential of a hybrid nanoparticle system for the comprehensive treatment of autoimmune disease and modulation of the immune system.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker