Promising rheumatoid arthritis drug moving to human trials

A newly developed vaccine that has been trialled in mice with promising results, will move to clinical trials in humans early next year – and you could play a vital part in those trials.

Speaking as the keynote speaker at the Translational Research Institute in Brisbane yesterday during activities to mark World Arthritis Day, leading researcher Professor Ranjeny Thomas revealed that they will soon be screening volunteers for the trials.

“We are looking for patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis who are receiving treatment. We will be screening for other entry criteria for the trials,” Professor Thomas said.

“We are also looking for people with joint pain who have screened positive for anti-CCP antibodies but who don’t have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis”. In ongoing research, Prof Thomas’ team is also keen to study first-degree relatives of people with rheumatoid arthritis, specifically siblings, parents and children who are over 18.

She said - while the results in mice were encouraging - it was too early to estimate when a vaccine might be available commercially.

“Let us get through this trial first and then we’ll have a better idea,” Professor Thomas said.

It was also premature to know if any vaccine would help people who had had the disease for some time in addition to those who were just developing rheumatoid arthritis.

“Again we need to get through trials and see exactly what it does and then we’ll have a better idea; that’s why we are doing the trials,” the Professor said.

To find out more about volunteering for research into RA, including the upcoming clinical trials, email di.arthritis@uq.edu.au or phone (07) 3443 6992.