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Advances In The Fight Against Arthritis

Feb 27, 2008
One of the most life changing, debilitating and even embarrassing diseases is arthritis. It comes in 100's of variations and has effects which can range from "hardly noticeable" to "totally gross". Sure, there are techniques, medicines and various tips to fight this disease, but there is no known all inclusive cure.

Almost 20% of our population, or roughly over 40 million American citizens report that they have been diagnosed with an arthritic condition. This number is projected to increase nearly 25% by the year 2030 and beyond. It affects more than 22% of all adults 65 years of age or older. Despite all of this doom and gloom, we are progressing, slowly but surely towards this elusive goal of a complete cure. Here is the rundown of some of the more exciting, albeit sometimes exotic advances in this fight.

A drug called Ritual, put out by Biogenic Idec, has shown promise in a late-stage human clinical trial to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The drug performance showed significant response in combination with existing treatments with methotrexate, in as mush so that it gained FDA approval in February 2006 to use the drug in combination with methotrexate in patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis who didn't achieve benefits from previous therapies.

Molecular biology advances have led to the generation of a new class of medications called biological response modifiers, which are capable of targeting inflammatory cells and mediators of inflammation. These new agents can limit the symptoms and halt the progression of inflammatory arthritis to a level that has been previously possible. Although sometimes risky for complications, the treatments may be worthwhile for some.

In early January, scientists at the University of Leeds in England have identified how atoms move across cell membranes in the human body. This research holds huge promise for new treatments for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis with the discovery of a previously unidentified natural mechanism that opens ion channels, proteins at the cell surface that act as doorways into and out of cells, through the naturally occurring protein thioredoxin.

These channels regulate the flow of ions, electrically charged atoms, across the cell membrane to conduct various functions such as timing of the heartbeat, pain transmission and regulation of blood glucose. The research revealed that thioredoxin's - one of the main causes or effects of arthritis, working is different, it activates an ion channel by donating electrons to it, almost like a switch. Realizing this, new drugs are being studied for mimicking these ion channels effects in form of a therapy. Its almost like the body's own natural defenses are providing new understanding for future treatments for arthritis.

Certainly there is a lot more to be done and researched, but these latest advances are showing significant promise towards successful treatment of this deadly condition. Science along with a renewed perception of the general population towards health preservation via exercise, diet, stress management and attitude are all slowly contributing towards a more effective, albeit not all inclusive, cure.
About the Author
Joseph Vishnev loves practical approach to things that make an instant, positive difference in people's lives. He is constantly scouring various research studies to update his website with latest advances. See: http://www.JointsPain.com for more information.
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