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Scientists to test First Arthritis vaccine

By Aditi Chengappa     Aug 15, 2008 in Health
British Scientists plan to start tests on a novel vaccine against rheumatoid arthritis, which could suppress the effects of the joint condition using patients' own blood cells.
A team from Newcastle University will test the effectiveness of the vaccine in eight volunteers in a pilot study. If successful, there will then be larger clinical trials.
John Isaacs, professor of clinical rheumatology, said the work was at a very early stage but was "hugely exciting", in a report by Reuters.
The concept lies in helping the body to cure itself. A similar technique has been used in cancer research, but this is the first time it has been adapted to rheumatoid arthritis.
In a healthy person, the immune system protects the body by fighting infection, but in auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthrits, it attacks body tissue, causing inflammation.
The new vaccine involves chemical manipulation of a patient's own white blood cells, so that they develop into tolerogenic dendritic cells, which supposedly suppress immune system activity.
Rheumatoid arthritis to date has not found a cure, but treatment has been revolutionized in the past decade by the introduction of modern anti-TNF medicines.
This new vaccine if successful would prove to be a blessing for those suffering with the very painful rheumatoid arthritis condition.
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