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Early treatment of systemic onset JIA with anakinra restores the IL-18 response
Date:6/12/2009

Copenhagen, Denmark, Friday 12 June 2009: First line treatment with anakinra (an interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist), results in a 'good' clinical response (ACRp90) in patients newly diagnosed with systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SoJIA), and restores the deficient IL-18 response of natural killer (NK) cells*, according to a new study presented today at PReS 2009, a joint congress with the 2009 Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

During the six month study, numbers of NK cells slightly increased initially but remained stable throughout treatment with anakinra, although specific lysis (the death of a cell by breaking of the cellular membrane) was restored to normal within just three days. Interestingly, the NK cell response after IL-18 stimulation was restored and sustained at normal levels, as seen in healthy children, during the follow up period suggesting that anakinra was able to mediate levels of cells involved in the immune response.

JIA is the most common form of persistent arthritis in children under the age of 16 years. It differs significantly from arthritis commonly seen in adults (such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) as, in addition to inflammation of the joints, there may also be inflammation of the eyes and internal organs, as well as skin rash (exanthema) and fever. Children with SoJIA, a subtype of JIA, are known to have defective NK cell function which compromises their immune systems, since NK cells (a type of cytotoxic lymphocyte, or white blood cell, that is capable of killing infected cells) play a major role in the rejection of cells infected by viruses and malfunctioning cell types including those commonly found in tumours.

Dr Wilco de Jager of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands, who led the study, said: "In patients with SoJIA, the essential cell-based regulatory systems that make up cell based immunity are impaire
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Contact: Rory Berrie
eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
44-789-438-6425
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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