IL-37a: a novel anti-inflammatory agent for the treatment of autoimmune arthritis?

Disease - Psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Damo Xu

Organisation - University of Glasgow

Type of grant - Project Grant

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £298,176

Start date - 9 January 2017

Reference - 21327

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Researchers have discovered a molecule produced by the body, called IL-37a, that reduces inflammation. This study aims to understand whether this molecule can reduce inflammation in inflammatory arthritis (for example, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis).

Why is this research important?

In inflammatory arthritis the immune system begins to attack healthy tissues, particularly in the joints. This causes inflammation and swelling, which in turn causes pain and reduced joint movement. To tackle this, doctors prescribe medications that reduces inflammation. However, the currently available treatments do not work for everyone. These researchers want to establish whether the molecule, IL-37a, can reduce inflammation in tissue samples from people with inflammatory arthritis, and in mice with inflammatory arthritis to assess its potential as a novel therapy.

How will the findings benefit patients?

If IL-37a can reduce inflammation in these studies, it could mark the beginning of the development of a new anti-inflammatory therapy for inflammatory arthritis. There are many disease processes that lead to inflammation in the joint; developing therapies that work in different ways will increase the chance of finding an appropriate treatment for everyone with any form of inflammatory arthritis.