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Benaroya Research Institute scientists identify drivers of rheumatoid arthritis
Date:6/11/2014

(June 11, 2014 Seattle, Wash.) Researchers at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) used cutting-edge tetramer technology developed at BRI to find the T cells that drive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). "By using tetramer technology, we were able to examine whether T cells in people with rheumatoid arthritis were increased in number or were unique in other ways," says BRI Associate Director Jane Buckner, MD, who led the study with BRI Tetramer Core Laboratory Manager Eddie James, PhD. The findings were recently reported online in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

This tool now allows scientists to study how RA starts, how current therapies may impact the immune response directed to the joint and how to specifically target these cells therapeutically. "For the first time, we were able to demonstrate that T cells that recognize proteins in the joint were increased in the blood of people with RA and that these cells had a unique set of markers. Further we were able to demonstrate that the number of these cells changes over time in patients and with treatment." BRI is an international leader in developing tetramer technology which allows scientists to isolate cells that are difficult to pinpoint, often compared to finding a needle in a haystack.

"RA is a debilitating disease affecting people of all ages including children," says Dr. Buckner. "Many people are diagnosed in their early 20's, 30's and 40's, and it impacts them at a very productive time of their lives. We used to see people with RA in wheelchairs and needing joint replacements, but during the last 15 years we have seen incredible progress in new therapies. If people are appropriately diagnosed and treated, they can work full time and be healthy, active adults. But they can still suffer and need medications that have risks and side effects. The drugs can be costly and sometimes they don't work or eventually stop working. If untreated, the disease will permanently destroy jo
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Contact: Kay Branz
kbranz@benaroyaresearch.org
206-342-6903
Immune Tolerance Network
Source:Eurekalert

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