Temple Times Online Edition
    NOVEMBER 4, 2004
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Medical School receives grant to study rheumatoid arthritis

Through a $1,092,000, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, the School of Medicine researchers will examine new ways to prevent the inflammation that leads to the swelling and pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

The immune system operates as an internal coat of armor, fending off infections and other foreign invaders. For unknown reasons, the immune system sometimes turns against itself, leading to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, a painful chronic condition where the immune system attacks the tissue surrounding the joints, causing inflammation.

“We want to determine how to block the overproduction of cytokines, which stimulates inflammation,” said principal investigator Robert W. Colman. “We’ve shown that this can be accomplished in animal models of using an antibody and hope in the near future to test its efficacy and safety in patients with the help of a pharmaceutical company.”

Colman is the Sol Sherry Professor of Medicine and director of the Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center at Temple.

Ultimately, findings from this type of research will help in designing new, more effective drugs. Currently, the available therapies for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers — anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medications — can cause side effects from stomach upset to weight gain to higher risk of infection.

- Eryn Jelesiewicz