Healthy Living

Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Year in Review

Microscopic weapons against RA

Scientists have historically pointed towards two sources of RA development at a microscopic level. These are the tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and the receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL). Abnormally high levels of both TNF and RANKL have been shown to cause the inflammation of joints associated with RA.  In recent years scientists have used advanced computer technology to analyze the structures of nearly 15,000 molecules to find any that would interact with TNF or RANKL in a positive way. Two molecules, which researchers called T8 and T23, were showed to be great at inhibiting TNF. This could potentially reduce inflammation in the joints of RA patients, and could be used in RA pharmaceuticals to increase the potency of certain drugs. As an added bonus, T8 and T23 were both found to be very low in toxicity, meaning they would not have many harmful side effects. The next step is to find ways to incorporate these molecules into medications in order to see how they affect RA treatment. It still is a very promising breakthrough that could make RA treatment much more effective, making it one of the more important RA discoveries of 2017.