Washington, Nov 6 : Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery have identified a new therapeutic target that can be used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
The research team found that manipulating a protein involved in two molecular pathways linked to inflammation could offer new therapies for rheumatoid arthritis.
They said that manipulating a protein called RBP-J involved in two molecular pathways the Notch and Toll-like receptor can lead to new therapies.
"This is a basic science papers with translational and clinical implications, as it identifies a potential new therapeutic target in the treatment of inflammatory disorders," said Dr Lionel Ivashkiv, director of Basic Research at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
He said that drugs, so-called gamma secretase inhibitors that hit this new target, are actually in trials for the treatment of another disease, leukemia.
For the study the researchers conducted a microarray analysis and surveyed an entire genome to determine which genes are expressed or which are responsible for a certain condition.
Using this technology with human macrophages, white blood cells that are vital to the development of inflammatory response, they identified a subset of genes that were turned on by the activation of Toll-like receptors and inhibited by interferon gamma.
This subset of genes included genes that are involved in the Notch signalling pathway.
"Before this study, we knew that the Notch pathway was important in development and that the Toll-like receptor pathways were important in acute inflammation, and now we know that those two things are linked in acute inflammation and cytokine production," said Dr. Ivashkiv.
The researchers found that when molecules dock on the Toll-like receptors of macrophages, proteins including interleukin-6, which has been implicated in rheumatoid arthritis, are produced.