Researchers from across multiple disciplines at NYU Langone Medical Center created a new protein molecule derived from the growth factor progranulin may provide the basis for new therapies in inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study published in the March 10, 2011 issue of Science.
“The development of this protein extends our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive the growth factors and cytokines control of cartilage development and arthritis,” said Chuan-ju Liu, PhD, the lead researcher and associate professor, Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Cell Biology, NYU Langone Medical Center. “Whether the protein accounts for all of the anti-inflammatory effects we observed in the study needs to replicated, but we are very encouraged by these initial results.”
Over the last 20 years research in rheumatology has focused on identifying cytokines (cell-signaling protein molecules secreted by the glial cells of the nervous system and other cells in the immune system responsible for intercellular communication), leading to the inflammatory and degenerative processes in rheumatoid arthritis. The molecule created and used in this study, called ATSTTRIN (antagonist of TNF/TNFR signaling via targeting to TNF receptors), is a peptide constructed from segments of proteins that originate within a cell, which has a high affinity and specificity for binding to tumor necrosis factor receptors (TNFR).
The researchers suggest that this progranulin-derived protein could result in alternative treatments to those suffering from chronic autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s diseases, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Dr. Liu’s co-authors include Wei Tang and Yi Lu, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, China and NYU Langone Medical Center; Qing-Yun Tian, Michael L. Dustin and Steven B. Abramson, NYU Langone Medical Center; and Xiu-Ping Yu, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, China.
About NYU Langone Medical Center
NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class patient-centered integrated academic medical center, is one of the nation’s premier centers for excellence in health care, biomedical research, and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is comprised of three hospitals – Tisch Hospital, a 705-bed acute-care tertiary facility, Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the first rehabilitation hospital in the world, with 174 beds and extensive outpatient rehabilitation programs, and the 190-bed Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of only five hospitals in the world dedicated to orthopaedics and rheumatology – plus the NYU School of Medicine, one of the nation’s preeminent academic institutions. For more information visit www.NYULMC.org.
Contact: Craig Andrews
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine