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Researchers who helped millions with arthritis receive prestigious Janssen Award
Date:5/12/2008

atients' joints.

In 1991, the two Professors and their colleagues found that all the different cytokines causing inflammation could be stopped by blocking one kind, Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) alpha. In 1992, the first series of successful trials were run with rheumatoid arthritis patients at Charing Cross Hospital, now part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The improvements in patients' health were so dramatic that the nurses could identify merely by observation, without access to blood tests, which patients had been given a placebo and which had received TNF alpha blockers.

The Professors work stimulated the development of three anti-TNF drugs, infliximab, etanercept and adalimumab. Furthermore, a new branch of medicine known as anti-cytokine therapy is now emerging, which builds on their work. This research is looking at other cytokine messengers, in addition to TNF, to see how targeting these messengers might treat more conditions.

Professor Feldmann, Head of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Imperial College London, said: Our findings were exciting because we discovered a new way of treating not just rheumatoid arthritis, but also a host of other chronic inflammatory conditions and perhaps acute ones too. Its great to see that through targeting other cytokine messenger molecules, as well as TNF, we now have the potential to tackle even more diseases and help even more patients. I believe Dr Janssen would have been intrigued as we explore the range of diseases which may be treatable by these anti-cytokines.

Professor Maini, former Head of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Imperial College London, added: Our discovery of anti-TNF therapy for disabling chronic inflammatory conditions was the result of contributions made by many colleagues and collaborators and only possible because of advances in molecular medicine and biotechnology. The joy of the fruits of our work is that it made a difference to the
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Contact: Laura Gallagher
L.Gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-46702
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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