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 < New Peptide Therapy for Inflammatory Diseases Developed > (March 15)
- Breakthrough may lead to new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis




   The Ministry announced the development of a "peptide therapy that can prevent the excessive production of immunoproteins released by the body to combat the invasion of germs, reducing side-effects while treating the inflammatory disorders caused by such reactions.
  The study was carried out by a team headed by Professor Choi Sang-don of Aju University with support from the Ministry's Basic Research Program (Individual Researcher), the Ministry of Education's Key Research Institute Support Program, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare/Korea Health Industry Development Institute Disease Treatment Technology Development Program (disease-oriented research); the results of the study were published in the February 27 issue of Biomaterials, an international journal.

- Paper: TLR4/MD2 specific peptides stalled in vivo LPS-induced immune exacerbation

  An immune response is an integral part of the body's defense mechanism, but excessive immunity can cause and exacerbate a variety of inflammatory diseases. The toll-like receptor (TLR), a component of the immune response that recognizes foreign bodies, plays a role in boosting the body's immune response but may also spiral out of control under certain situations, causing autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or sepsis.
  These diseases are usually treated by anti-inflammatory drugs, immune suppressants or pain killers; these provide only relief for symptoms, however, and many cause serious side-effects when taken for extended periods of time. This has created the need for a treatment that has strong treatment properties and a high affinity for seeking out TLRs, but without side-effects.
  The research team created a phage library and utilized a peptide screening system using biopanning technology to developed a TLR4 signal inhibitor peptide capable of a powerful pharmacological action.
  The new peptide drug is powerful, simple to produce and can be commercialized and quality-controled with ease, and can effectively control the TLR response path to be used as a new method of treating rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis and other serious inflammatory disorders.
  Professor Choi said, "The study created a drug with reduced side-effects with greater bio-affinity in the form of a peptide that accurately finds and inhibits the TLR4 of the target cell," adding that "the treatment was found to be effective in animal testing for treating rheumatoid arthritis and damaged renal tissue. A clinical injection is being developed, and the drug is expected to provide a new way of treating inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis and autoimmune disorders."

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