Investigating the role of the protein galactin-1 as an anti-inflammatory in rheumatoid arthritis

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Dianne Cooper

Organisation - Queen Mary University of London

Type of grant - PhD Scholarship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £152,841.56

Start date - 1 October 2015

Reference - 20980

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This research project aims to investigate how galactin-1, a protein that prevents inflammation in the body, controls the activity and lifespan of white blood cells called neutrophils in the joint, to determine its importance in inflammatory joint disease.

Why is this research important?

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, white blood cells move from the blood to joints where they survive for an abnormal length of time, causing inflammation. Neutrophils are particularly important in this inflammation.

Current treatments for rheumatoid arthritis do not work for a large number of patients and are associated with unpleasant side-effects. Galectin-1 is a protein with anti-inflammatory properties that is naturally produced within the body. If it is possible to understand how galectin-1 reduces joint inflammation, it may be possible to develop new treatments based on natural anti-inflammatory processes which may cause fewer side effects.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This is a pre-clinical study, however continued research will build understanding on anti-inflammatory processes that occur naturally in the body. Eventually this may contribute to therapy by harnessing the actions of galectin-1 to produce new treatments that have fewer side-effects than current anti-inflamatory medicines.