Researchers study animal venoms to identify new medicines for treating diseases

The study of natural toxins and their derivatives may help in the development of medicines to treat diseases like cancer and osteoarthritis, says coordinator of the Center of Excellence in New Target Discovery.

Animal venoms are the subject of study at research center based at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo. But in this case, the idea is not to find antidotes, but rather to use the properties of the venoms themselves to identify molecular targets of diseases and, armed with that knowledge, develop new compounds that can be used as medicines.

Inflammation in middle age may indicate increased risk of dementia in later life

The latest findings from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study indicate that people suffering chronic inflammation during middle age show a greater decline in cognitive function as they get older.

Brain with inflammationSklemine Kirill | Shutterstock

When the body sustains an injury, it raises an acute inflammatory response to fight off infection and promote healing. This inflammatory response is localized and short-lived, and forms part of a healthy immune system.

Study identifies protein regulator that induces Th17 cells to cause multiple sclerosis

Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis (MS) are a major healthcare burden worldwide and are life-altering conditions for afflicted patients. Yet, while much is known about the mechanisms of disease, in most cases there are very few effective treatment options.

However, a recent study published in Nature Communications provides hope for autoimmune disease sufferers. Led by researchers from Osaka University, the study team found that genome organizer protein Satb1 triggers a shift in immune cells, inducing tissue inflammation and autoimmunity. This breakthrough could lead to new treatments targeting the source of inflammation.

Inhibiting tuberculosis-induced cell death with immunotherapy

Tuberculosis treatment still entails the intake several antibiotics over a period of many months and is torturous for many patients. The pathogen’s increasing multidrug resistance additionally complicates this lengthy treatment, and side effects frequently lead to a discontinuation of treatment and high mortality rates. Developing alternative treatment approaches is therefore of critical importance. DZIF scientists from the University Hospital Cologne are working on an immunotherapy that supports antibiotic treatment. In their current study, they were able to identify a new target protein in human immune cells, which can inhibit the bacteria’s destructive effects.

Unexpected discovery points to potential new treatment for autoimmune disorder

Feb 8 2019

Findings Also Suggest Blood Test Could Identify People at Elevated Risk

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have identified an unexpected contributor to rheumatoid arthritis that may help explain the painful flare-ups associated with the disease. The discovery points to a potential new treatment for the autoimmune disorder and may also allow the use of a simple blood test to detect people at elevated risk for developing the condition.

Kodi Ravichandran (left) consults with Sanja Arandjelovic about the lab’s rheumatoid arthritis discovery that could pave the way for a new treatment.

Compounds found in fish oil may prevent pregnancy complications, finds study

Compounds found in fish oil prevent pregnancy complications, including preterm birth, neonatal death, and stillbirth, in mice when the complications are caused by a common oral bacteria, according to research published today in the journal JCI Insight.

The study, by scientists at Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine and Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, suggests a new strategy for protecting pregnancy in women.

Why it matters

Approximately one in 10 U.S. infants are born before term. Between 10 and 30 percent of preterm births have been attributed to uterine infections with a type of bacteria commonly found in the mouth, F. nucleatum.

Yoga practice decreases severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

New research in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience supports adding yoga as an adjunctive therapy to treat this chronic inflammatory disease

According a study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, eight weeks of intensive yoga practice significantly decreases the severity of physical and psychological symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a debilitating chronic auto-immune inflammatory disease. Marked improvements were seen in the levels of certain inflammatory biomarkers and assessments of functional status and disease activity in patients studied, demonstrating yoga’s promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative potential for achieving optimal health.

Psoriasis treatment associated with reduction in coronary artery disease

Researchers have found that treating psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, with biologic drugs that target immune system activity can reduce the early plaque buildup that clogs arteries, restricts blood flow, and leads to heart attacks and stroke. The findings highlight how immunotherapies that treat inflammatory conditions might play a role in the reduction of cardiovascular disease risks. The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, appears online today in the journal Cardiovascular Research.

Groundbreaking preventive approach promises to revolutionize treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

The EU- and industry-funded RTCURE project’s groundbreaking approach promises to revolutionize treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, which afflicts millions of people across Europe with joint pain, inflammation and bone and cartilage loss. Unlike current therapeutic approaches that target the symptoms of the disease – which occur after the body’s own immune system attacks the synovial tissue that keeps joints moving smoothly – the RTCURE team is focusing on the underlying causes of the disorder.

‘The type of therapy the RTCURE project is aiming to develop may completely change today’s management of rheumatoid arthritis worldwide by inducing drug-free remission that would eliminate symptoms of the disease and remove the need for lifelong treatments for many patients,’ says scientific coordinator Martina Johannesson at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

New system for early detection of lupus developed

Autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis, are difficult to diagnose, specially in early stages. Specifically, in the case of lupus, specific antibodies aimed at antigens located in the nucleus of cells appear, including the anti-Ro/SSA. These anti-Ro/SSA antibodies can be found in the blood before other autoantibodies related with lupus, and can even be detected without the existence of symptoms.

As explained by ángel Maquieira, researcher of Valencia’s Polytechnic University (UPV), belonging to the Molecular Recognition and Technological Development Institute (IDM), the tests currently used to detect the presence of immunologic bodies are based on tracing autoantibodies with the ELISA technique. These tests are not very sensitive, which limits the ability to reveal the extremely low amounts of these antibodies that are usually present in the first stages of the disease.