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Treatments for Arthritis

22 February 2005

Treatments for Arthritis

There is a lot of speculation about the side-effects of conventional treatments for arthritis, therefore the Malaghan Institute is endeavouring to develop a novel non-steroidal treatment.

There are currently more than 100 degenerative diseases that fall under the umbrella of arthritis. Arthritis knows no age barrier affecting both the young and the elderly. Unfortunately, the disease states are poorly understood making it difficult to find a cure. It is widely recognised however, that inflammation plays a key role in arthritis causing irreparable damage to the joints.

The Arthritis Research Group, headed by Dr Jacquie Harper, intends to set up a clinical research programme aimed at identifying the factors involved in the onset, duration and resolution of inflammation in arthritis attacks.

The study will profile the inflammatory response of healthy volunteers and arthritis patients following a localised exposure to the causative agent in crystal-induced arthritis. This ‘arthritis model’ will allow the research team to determine important differences between the way healthy and susceptible individuals respond to inflammatory stimuli. Using this information it will be possible to identify new targets for prevention and disease management.

The clinical research programme will also link in with the Arthritis Research Group’s anti-inflammatory drug discovery programme with a focus on the development of novel anti-inflammatory agents from New Zealand biota, such as marine sponges. The lead candidate from the discovery programme will be tested using our clinical arthritis model as part of the Phase I clinical trial process for the development of a new treatment for arthritis.


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