Rheumatoid arthritis, cancer link may present therapeutic potential

Verity Stockdale - Dec 2013

A link between a molecule common in some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis may be a potential lead for therapy.

Any research that shows potential for new and more innovative therapeutic interventions to be formulated for age-old conditions will always be welcomed by patients and medical professionals alike. Now, a molecule common in several forms of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis has provided just that.

Perhaps surprisingly, a molecule called cadherin-11 has been found to straddle both conditions, appearing over-produced in cases of both the autoimmune disease and some cancers, including breast and brain tumours.

In breast cancer, the molecule was found to be over-expressed in 15 per cent of cases and many incidences of glioblastomas, while it is also thought to contribute to pancreatic cancer.

Highlighting the importance of the findings, Dr Stephen Byers - professor and molecular oncologist at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center - explained: "What most of these cancers all have in common is cadherin-11 and a poor prognosis, with no effective therapies."

In the study published in Oncotarget, scientists also claimed they had identified drugs that could be used to inhibit production of cadherin-11 - one of which is already being clinically trialled.

The researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center - along with colleagues from Harvard and Columbia Universities, Mayo Clinic and Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland - believe that the molecule could play an important role in the progression of the two very different diseases.

However, they confess to not yet fully understanding why this is the case. "Nevertheless, we are rapidly translating this discovery for use in the clinic," confirmed Dr Byers.

In other news concerning rheumatoid arthritis treatment, Wayne State researchers may have made something of a breakthrough.

In collaboration with scientists from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, the team has discovered an inhibitor called IRE1a for treatment of the condition, as well as the primary inflammatory stress response that promotes its development.

"For the first time, we revealed the molecular targets of Unfolded Protein Response and Toll-like Receptor signaling and their interaction mechanism in the progression of inflammatory arthritis," commented Dr Kezhong Zhang, associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Wayne State's Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics and the man who led the team of scientists from Wayne State.

"Our study not only identified previously unknown molecular targets, but also pointed out a specific inhibitor that can efficiently suppress arthritis."

The expert added that the next stop would be to test the effects of specific inhibitors of Unfolded Protein Response, in order to gauge their efficacy at curing inflammatory arthritis.

Dr Zhang said the next step toward the development of therapeutics may be testing the effects of specific inhibitors of Unfolded Protein Response in curing inflammatory arthritis with animal models and clinical trials.

Such research is vital as, according to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis and rheumatic conditions cost the US around $128 billion (£79.6 billion) every single year, $47 billion of which comprises lost earnings.

Individuals who struggle with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis might benefit from a dietary supplement such as AlphaCurcumin Plus, available to purchase either online or over the phone from the Really Healthy Company.

The complex boasts anti-inflammatory properties that may help to ease painful swelling, with added bromelain and quercetin to enhance this property and other ingredients to boost its absorption potential.

Another way for individuals to give their body a more general helping hand could be to take Biobran MGN-3, available from the same supplier. It is one of the most effective supplements for maintaining a strong and healthy immune system by giving the white blood cells vital glyco-nutritional support, thereby affording people the best chance of staying fight fit and staving off unwanted ailments.

 

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