Monkey Peptide Reverses Joint Disease!
Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Wed, November 22nd, 2017
Certain monkeys and their powerful peptides could hold great promise for reversing joint disease.
New work from the University of Southern California (USC) has found that in a rat model, a peptide found only in Old World monkeys—θ-defensin 1 (RTD-1)—totally reversed rheumatoid arthritis. Co-author Michael Selsted, M.D., Ph.D., chair and professor of pathology at the Keck School of Medicine, USC, told OTW, “There is a significant unmet need for more effective and safer drugs for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).”
“RTD-1 is the prototype of a family of small cyclic peptides (θ-defensins), the only circular proteins in the animal kingdom,” said Dr. Selsted in the November 16, 2017 news release. “Previous studies have shown that RTD-1 modulates lethal inflammation in animal models of infection, and we predicted that RTD-1’s protective mechanism in those models would translate to rheumatoid arthritis, a disease in which chronic inflammation produces irreversible joint damage.”
As Keck Medicine wrote in the news release, “To test their hypothesis, the researchers administered RTD-1 to rats with arthritis for 11 days and observed whether the treatment had any anti-arthritic effects. Within 24 hours of the first administered dose, RTD-1 had significantly reduced arthritis progression. At the end of the treatment, rats that received RTD-1 also had markedly lower arthritis severity scores as compared with rats that had not received RTD-1.”
“Next, RTD-1 was tested in rats with severe arthritis. The research team found that RTD-1 produced a rapid reduction in arthritis severity within 48 hours of treatment, with complete resolution of clinical disease in all treated rats by day 15. RTD-1 was then compared to two gold standard treatments for rheumatoid arthritis—methotrexate and etanercept—in rats with severe arthritis. The team found that RTD-1 treatment resulted in greater disease resolution than methotrexate or etanercept. RTD-1 also achieved the highest rate of complete disease resolution of the three treatments.”
Dr. Selsted commented to OTW, “Treatment of animals with evolving or severe autoimmune arthritis with RTD-1 resulted in rapid arrest and resolution of disease that was superior to current RA drugs. Based on the preclinical efficacy of RTD-1 in treatment of autoimmune arthritis in rats, we are will shortly launch safety studies that we expect will allow for human trials of this first-in-class drug in 2018.”
The study, “Suppression and resolution of autoimmune arthritis by rhesus θ-defensin-1, an immunomodulatory macrocyclic peptide,” appears in the November 16, 2017 edition of PLOS ONE.