In case you missed the news on TV, you can see an article on the breakthrough research from the Sydney Morning Herald (FYI, in the article below, Charles Mackay is her supervisor)
Inflammatory diseases drug developed
The new drug, developed by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, also could help sufferers of multiple sclerosis (MS), asthma, sepsis, heart attack and psoriasis as well as transplant patients.
Millions of people around the globe are affected by diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, a severe form of arthritis.
The new drug, which has been trialled on mice with success, could ease pain and improve wellbeing for sufferers, the head of Garvan's Arthritis and Inflammation program, Charles Mackay, said.
Scientists have identified the mechanism by which a white blood cell enters a tissue, releasing toxic substances and causing damage in the joints.
The drug, once injected, works within hours to completely return a diseased tissue back to a normal tissue.
"The drug developed is highly effective at inhibiting disease in animals," Professor Mackay said.
"It not only completely prevents disease, but in animals that already have disease it completely reverses the disease process.
"The turnaround ... is quite remarkable."
But he stopped short of describing the breakthrough as a cure.
"Cure's a very strong word," Prof Mackay said.
"The disease does come back, as in many chronic inflammatory diseases."
Executive Director of the Garvan Institute John Shine described the development as a "major milestone".
"It's another great example of the excellence of Australian medical research across the board ... ," Professor Shine said.
The next step now is a clinical human trial.
This is likely to be 18 months away and could take five to 10 years.© 2006 AAP
Sunday Bloody Sunday