NYU Langone Logo A novel treatment option for inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis seems to be underway. Scientists from the NYU Langone Medical Center claim to have developed a novel protein molecule that can form the basis of new therapies for fighting inflammatory diseases. This protein molecule is reportedly derived from the growth factor progranulin.

The development of this protein probably helps in understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive the growth factors and cytokines control of cartilage development as well as arthritis. The investigation aimed to detect cytokines that pave way to the inflammatory and degenerative processes in rheumatoid arthritis. Cytokines are assumed to be cell-signaling protein molecules secreted by the glial cells of the nervous system and other cells in the immune system responsible for intercellular communication.

The molecule created and used in this research is termed as ATSTTRIN. It appears as a peptide constructed from segments of proteins which originate within a cell with a high affinity and specificity for binding to tumor necrosis factor receptors (TNFR). Chuan-ju Liu, PhD, the lead researcher and associate professor, Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Cell Biology, NYU Langone Medical Center and colleagues presume that this progranulin-derived protein can be an alternative treatment to patients suffering from chronic autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s diseases, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The research was published in the March 10, 2011 issue of Science.