How a Parasite Might Hold Clues for New Arthritis Treatment
All right, this is just plain? distressing If you?re at all squeamish about parasites, read on at your own riskAll right, this is just plain? distressing. If you?re at all squeamish about parasites, read on at your own risk. Researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde will try to understand why auto immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis are so rare in countries where parasitic worm infections are common and whether this may lead to new effective arthritis treatments.
Yes, that?s right. Parasitic worms living inside the bodies of populations from tropical regions without causing them any trouble at all. And perhaps, strangely, providing some benefit. Which leaves you to wonder if Mother Nature doesn?t know just exactly what she?s doing after all?
The scientific community is well aware of an inverse relationship between worm infections and diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, type-1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Countries where people are naturally infected with this particular parasite seem to have lower rates of these conditions than those countries where this type of infection doesn?t occur or has been eradicated.
Luckily for the squeamish among us, it?s not the actual parasitic filarial nematode worm that the Scots scientists are wanting to put into our bodies, it?s a large molecule they secrete known as ES-62. This substance is found in the bloodstream of parasite infected people in the tropics, and seems to provide some protective benefit against the inflammation the worms should be causing in their human hosts. The good news is that ES-62 has no known adverse effects, leaving the body perfectly able to fight off other infections.
?ES-62 appears to act like a ?thermostat? to effectively turn down disease-causing inflammation while leaving essential defense mechanisms intact to fight infection and cancer,? according to Iain McInnes, a member of the research team and Professor of Experimental Medicine at the University of Glasgow. ?This property also makes ES-62 a unique tool for scientists to identifying how such disease-causing inflammation occurs.?
The team is going to try and produce a synthetic (again? whew!) version of the ES-62 molecule from the worms in an effort to come up with an anti inflammatory therapy that works effectively for auto immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, type-1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The three-year study is being funded by the UK's Arthritis Research Campaign.
Earlier work has also shown ES-62 to have real potential as a therapy for allergies too.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a potentially crippling joint disease that comes as a result of your immune system attacking itself. Inflammation in the joints and internal organs is the result and is an incredibly painful condition.
At present there is no cure for this severely debilitating condition, but there is lots of research currently underway, and various arthritis treatment options are available that help take down the painful inflammation and keep joint damage to a minimum. One such treatment has recently hit the headlines ? a drug called Tocilizumab (which will be sold under the brand name RoActemra). This works in conjunction with another arthritis drug Methotrexate and works to halt symptoms.
Over 14,000 people have joined Kirsten's popular (and sometimes controversial) Daily Health Bulletin, so why not join them and stay up to date with the latest on arthritis treatment and general health news daily. You also get 5 comprehensive health reports free when you join - giving you all you need to treat common ailments, lose weight, look younger and feel healthier.