A protein that triggers rheumatoid arthritis has been discovered by scientists. According to researchers, the findings may lead to an effective and potentially less toxic alternative therapy to current anti-TNF (tumour necrosis factor) drugs, currently being prescribed to arthritis patients, which suppress the immune system, leaving patients at risk of developing infections, the Daily Express reported.
Dr Jane Salmon, who led the study, said that they have identified a clinically potential new target for drugs to treat patients, the protein called IRHOM2.
The team used a model that mimics human rheumatoid arthritis in mice, which were genetically engineered to be deficient in IRHOM2.
Dr Carl Blobel from Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City (HSS) said that when they tested mice that don't have IRHOM2 in a model for inflammatory arthritis, they found that the animals were protected and they were protected as well as mice that didn't have any TNF.
The research has been published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.