Nanoparticles offer targeted approach to treating RA

Targeted biodegradeable nanoparticles may have the potential to enhance the effectiveness of drugs used to treat people with rheumatoid arthritis while at the same time minimising side effects, delegates have heard.

Presenting his findings at a press conference this morning Dr Paolo Macor from the University of Trieste in Italy said his research team found that a single nanoparticle injection preloaded with methotrexate could bind to inflammed synovial tissue both in vitro and in vivo.

When the researchers used the same dose of ‘free’ methotrexate in a rat model it was ineffective.

“The advantage of being able to deliver methotrexate in this targeted way is to be able to gain the benefits from this key treatment of RA, while reducing the risk of adverse effects that are more frequent at high doses,” he said.

While the findings were far from clinical practice, Dr Macor noted that targeted approaches were already used in the treatment of certain cancers.

The study was included in the EULAR Basic and Translational Science highlights session presented by Costantino Pitzalis from William Harvey Research Institute in London.

Commenting on the research Professor Pitzalis said the findings represented the future of medicine.

“If we can deliver the drugs to the site of disease then we will be better position to decrease the systemic side effects while at the same time increasing the concentration locally and make these drugs more effective,” he said.

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