A new experimental compound developed by scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has the ability to significantly reduce joint inflammation in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis. The study showed that the compound, known as SR2211, blocked the development of basically all symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in mice within the first eight to 10 days of treatment, according to a news release from TSRI. The mice also showed notably reduced bone and cartilage erosion compared to animals that did not receive treatment.

The TSRI news release notes that the new compound targets the nuclear receptor ROR?, which is a key regulator of TH17 cells. Biochemist Patrick R. Griffin, chair of the TSRI Department of Molecular Therapeutics, explains, “This compound, and its precursors, showed the ability to block the release of specific inflammatory mediators from Th17 cells in culture, so we were confident that SR2211 would demonstrate good efficacy in rodent models of autoimmune disease.”

Griffin adds, “Our newest study strongly supports the idea that by targeting the ROR? receptor, we can therapeutically repress inflammation and joint destruction associated with rheumatoid arthritis.”

Mi Ra Chang, the first author of the study, says, “We wanted to develop a compound with the potential to help treat patients suffering from a range of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Compounds such as SR2211 work directly and specifically on at least two immune cell types directly involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease.”

Griffin states, “This study with SR2211 shows that repressing the activity of the ROR? receptor alone works to reduce joint erosion and inflammation. It’s an alternative mechanism of action that can provide doctors with additional treatment options for patients who do not respond well or cannot tolerate current therapies.”

Source: Scripps Research Institute