London: Scientists claimed to have developed a jab that uses your own immune cells to help ease the pain of arthritic knees.
Researchers from the Newcastle University are currently testing the treatment in a clinical trial built on the theory that it will ‘reprogramme’ the immune system in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the Daily Mail reported.
Rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by the immune system malfunctioning and mistakenly attacking healthy tissue in the body, specifically the cells that line the joints.
This causes swelling, aching, throbbing pain and, eventually, deformity and damage to the joint.
Hands, feet and wrists are most commonly affected, although other parts of the body can be damaged, too.
The cause of the disease is not yet known, but it’s thought an infection or a virus may be responsible, acting in some way on the immune system to turn off its protective ‘safety switch’.
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis and treatments are designed to improve symptoms, reducing inflammation in the joints, easing pain, and slowing joint damage.
The new treatment is aimed at combating the disease at an earlier stage, by ‘re-educating’ immune system cells.
The treatment is based on dendritic cells, key players in the immune system.
The cells attack invaders and also help to recruit other immune cells, called antibodies, which help defend the body.
Experts believe that, for some reason, in rheumatoid arthritis the dendritic cells lose their power.
In the trial, dendritic cells will be taken from the patient’s blood and then injected directly into their knee joints. The researchers aim to initially treat 12 patients.
Patients in the trial have had the disease for six months or more.
Using an arthroscopy — a camera examination of a joint — nine of the patients will be injected with the dendritic cells and three with saline solution as a control treatment.
Their symptoms will be measured seven, 14, and 91 days after the injection.