Novel therapeutic approach to fighting inflammation
14 April 2011
A new approach to certain inflammatory reactions uses guidance
molecules to reduce the body's own immune system to the required level
and prevent excessive and damaging inflammation.
Possible applications of the therapy, developed at Charité –
Universitätsmedizin Berlin, include therapies for inflammation, such
as blood poisoning, but also in chronic inflammation and
immunological inflammations such as rheumatoid arthritis and organ
The research is published in the current issue of Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) .
Two types of guidance molecules, the attractive and the
repulsive, direct the growth of nerve cells to the actual target.
The designation of these molecules ("guidance" molecules) also
describes the exclusive function that was previously attributed to
them, namely to show the growing nerve fibres the way.
The fundamentally new approach to the research of Prof. Dr Schwab
and his team at the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative
Therapies (BCRT) is the realization that these guidance molecules
have an additional hitherto unknown role in the immune system.
The problem with the so-called "excessive" inflammation of the
body is that the immune system overreacts and there by aggravates
the actual inflammation. Here the repulsive molecules drive the
immune molecules (leukocytes) into the way and thus prevent the
inflammation from getting out of control or becoming chronic.
The new approach represents a softer, more specific alternative
to the orthodox approaches to the combat of inflammation such as
cortisone, due to cortisone’s non-specific effect as well as many
associated side effects which pose problems for many patients.
Prof. Dr. Schwab is optimistic that through this research, a new
effective therapy could be found, which can be effective in the
fight against excessive inflammation; due to their fundamentally new
understanding of this important aspect of the immune system.
1. Valbona Mirakaj, Sebastian Brown, Stefanie Laucher, Carolin
Steinl, Gerd Klein, David Köhler, Thomas Skutella, Christian Meisel,
Benedikt Brommer, Peter Rosenberger and Jan M. Schwab: Repulsive
guidance molecule-A (RGM-A) inhibits leukocyte migration and
mitigates inflammation. PNAS, April 5, 2011. doi: