Scientists from the prestigious Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine have just announced a potentially groundbreaking piece of research for arthritis.
Through a series of experiments on synovial cells, they have identified a new gene associated with the disease’s severity in rheumatoid arthritis—one of the most common forms of arthritis today. This critical finding could pave the way for new treatments for the condition and proactively anticipate, as well as measure, the prognosis of patients with the condition.
The study, published online in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases last July notes that the gene HIP1 is a driver in inflammatory arthritis severity. This is the first time that the specific gene has been associated in arthritis severity and cell invasiveness.
“There have been major advances in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in the past 20 years, but disease remission still remains uncommon. Most drugs today target inflammation but often that is not enough to control disease,” says Percio S. Gulko, MD, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology who authored the paper along with Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology). “…we have been looking for alternative strategies. In this research, we have focused on understanding the regulation of disease severity and joint damage. Our discovery led us to the synovial fibroblasts, cells inside the joint.”
Quite simply, this latest discovery underscores the possibility of future therapies focusing on HIP1 to manage and even treat RA. A drug that could specifically target this gene would ultimately be an accurate predictor of patient prognosis as well as becoming a novel and effective way to treat the condition. More importantly, it can be a treatment that can spare the immune system outside the joint.