By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) – Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. It occurs when the immune system, which normally helps protect the body from infection and disease, attacks the membrane lining the joints. For those who have been personally affected by this condition or know someone who has, getting educated about the disease is important. Here are are a few things to know about RA:
- What happens in RA? RA occurs when white blood cells in the immune system travel to tissue that surrounds the joint and cause inflammation, notes the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The normally thin joint tissue becomes thick, making the joint swollen, red, painful and sometimes warm to the touch.
- Who gets RA? The disease often begins in middle age and is more common among older adults, NIAMS reports. Like some other forms of arthritis, RA is more common among women than men; about two to three times as many women as men have the disease.
- What new treatments are being studied? “One interesting approach to RA involves using specific molecular compounds to activate receptors on the surfaces of the cells that are involved in the inflammation associated with RA,” says Pnina Fishman, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Can-Fite BioPharma. “Achieving this may be able to reduce the inflammation along with the discomfort it brings.”
Can-Fite’s approach to treating RA is rooted in Dr. Fishman’s own pioneering research on a seemingly different question: Why is it that cancers almost never metastasize to muscle tissue, even though muscle makes up 65 percent of the human body? She helped determine that certain substances secreted by muscles, while leaving normal cells untouched, manage to restrict the growth and development of cancer cells. They manage this feat by activating a particular receptor that is found predominantly on the cancer cells’ surface, which inhibits the cell growth. Subsequent work revealed a similar mechanism involving receptors to be involved in various inflammatory diseases, including RA and psoriasis.
The company is enrolling patients in its Phase III Acrobat trial that is evaluating Can-Fite’s lead drug candidate, Piclidenoson (CF101), as a first-line treatment and replacement for the current standard of care and most widely used RA drug, Methotrexate (MTX).
“By unlocking the key to what is causing the inflammation in the first place, work being conducted today could expand the range of effective treatment options that are available to rheumatologists and their RA patients,” Dr. Fishman adds.