Rheumatoid arthritis

Novel immunotherapy trial for rheumatoid arthritis


Queensland researchers are hoping a novel immunotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis will ‘frame the discussion’ between dendritic cells and T-cells to dampen down the immune response.

A phase 1 clinical trial of DEN-181 has opened in Brisbane at the Princess Alexandra Hospital to test the safety, tolerability and pharmacodynamics of the new agent in adults with stable disease on methotrexate monotherapy.

A research team led by Professor Ranjeny Thomas from the University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute has developed the immunotherapy which is being commercialised by start-up company Dendright Pty Ltd.

Dendright’s CEO Ms Helen Roberts told the limbic the nanoparticle-based immunotherapy was designed to regulate the activated immune cells that cause inflammation, pain and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis.

“What we’re trying to do here is modulate a pre-existing immune response as opposed to vaccines which stimulate an immune response in the context of cancer or infectious diseases.”

DEN-181 had the potential to offer higher specificity of effect and lower toxicity than current treatments for rheumatoid arthritis given the lack of broadly suppressive effects on the immune system.

Patients eligible for trial inclusion must be anti-CCP positive and HLA-DRB*0401 or HLA-DRB1*0101 positive (homozygous or heterozygous).

Just 58 patients are required to meet the trial’s recruitment goals and clinicians are invited to discuss eligible patients with the study coordinator ([email protected]au).

Early trial results from the single dose protocol are expected in mid-2018 and from the multi-dose protocol in 2019.

The study is funded by Arthritis Queensland and Janssen Biotech.

The limbic reached out to Professor Thomas for comment but she was unable to be interviewed as she was overseas.

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