One of the things I love about my career is that I get the opportunity to speak to scientists who are working towards improving our understanding of a disease or health condition in an effort to identify new, better methods of treatment. Invariably, these people are passionate about what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious. And if you’re a curious person, as I am, it’s fascinating to learn about the problems they’re trying to solve, and the approach they’re taking to try and find answers.
The four scientists that are featured in Krembil Arthritis 2019 — all rising stars in their fields — are perfect examples. All of them have already made key discoveries about what happens in the chemical chain reactions that drive different forms of arthritis, thereby revealing promising potential targets for therapy. It’s a bit like identifying one key domino in a long series of connected lines of dominos — removing or neutralizing it may prevent the rest from crashing down.
For example, in the case of osteoarthritis, by far the most common form of arthritis, we don’t yet have a powerful, targeted biologic therapy like those that have transformed the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
And in psoriatic arthritis, some such medications can indeed help quell inflammation, but none of them prevent the abnormal accumulation of new bone — an integral part of the disease — which, over time, can cause vertebrae in the spine to fuse together, for example.
However, thanks to the scientists profiled here, we’re now a step closer to treatments that could potentially short-circuit the destructive domino effects underlying these diseases.
If you find this stuff as fascinating as I do, you can read more here. (Page 3, far right hand side.)