JUN 14, 2019 11:18 AM PDT

Attaching a removable lock to an arthritis drug

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A study published in PLOS Biology suggests that attaching a removable lock to an arthritis drug can increase its effectiveness. The study sheds new light on a drug taken by millions of patients throughout the world.

Learn more about rheumatoid arthritis:

Arthritis drugs, like the monoclonal antibodies infliximab and adalimumab, have been considered breakthrough treatments for their ability to target and inhibit the activity of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha)—which is a key signaling molecule in the autoimmune cascade. However, the use of TNF-alpha blockers has major disadvantages. For one, their use can result in immune suppression. To mitigate the problem, researchers added a removable protein "lock" to the infliximab antibody.

The lock was attached chemically to the active site of the antibody via a protein tag that can be removed by an enzyme called matrix metalloproteinase (MMP).

MMP’s are abundant at the site of rheumatoid arthritis and is implicated in the characteristic tissue breakdown seen in the disease. Therefore, researchers were hopeful that at the site of the disease—and not in inactive in non-arthritic tissues--the high concentrations of MMP would remove the lock and release the active infliximab primarily at the site of disease, while leaving it largely locked and inactive in non-arthritic tissues where MMP levels were lower. Additionally, the researchers hoped that the presence of a lock would alter the shape of the infliximab enough to prevent any anti-infliximab antibodies from developing.

The lock was found to be effective both respects. "The addition of this reversible lock to infliximab has the potential to improve the risk/benefit ratio for patients with rheumatoid arthritis," said lead author of the study, Wen-Wei Lin of Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan, "and may serve as a model for improvement of other monoclonal antibody therapies as well. Significant further work will be required before the modified form of the antibody can be tested in a clinical trial in patients”.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JAN 24, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 24, 2020
Federal Government Weighs in on Marijuana and Opioid Addiction
The U.S. government is weighing in on the hot topic of whether or not medical marijuana is a successful tool in treating opioid addiction by barring the us...
JAN 24, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 24, 2020
Discovery of mechanism behind Alexander disease may lead to enhanced drug development
Researchers have long known that the cause behind Alexander disease is a genetic culprit—mainly a mutation leading to the production of a defective p...
JAN 24, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 24, 2020
Vaccine Causes More Polio Cases than Wild Virus
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that 11 new cases of polio in five African countries including Nigeria, Congo and Angola were caused by a...
JAN 24, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 24, 2020
Is Cannabis Helping America Sleep?
Researchers find cannabis is being used as a sleep-aid in Colorado. Many Americans struggle with sleep disturbances -- some estimates put the percentage at...
JAN 24, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 24, 2020
Can We Cure Down's Syndrome with Gene Therapy?
Down’s Syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder brought on by the presence of all of part of a third copy of chromosome 21. Linked to delays in physical g...
JAN 24, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 24, 2020
Babies in Africa Receive World's First Malaria Vaccine
Would you accept a vaccine that was only 40% effective? For those at risk of malaria, the answer is likely a resounding, "yes!" According to the...
Loading Comments...