Marvel Molecule Could Lead To Treatments For Inflammatory Diseases

Marvel Molecule Could Lead To Treatments For Inflammatory Diseases
Fluorescent imaging shows the cellular target (the red spot)
for marvel molecule MCC950. (Credit: Dr Rebecca Coll)
Scientists have uncovered a marvel molecule that blocks a key driver of inflammatory diseases. The finding could meet a major unmet clinical need by inspiring new non-invasive treatments for arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Muckle-Wells syndrome, among a myriad of other inflammatory diseases.
 
In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, the international research team showed how the molecule MCC950 can suppress the 'NLRP3 inflammasome', which is an activator of the key process in inflammatory diseases.
 
Inflammasomes have been identified as promising therapeutic targets by researchers over the last decade. And now the discovery of MCC950's abilities represents a hugely significant development in the effort to find treatments for inflammatory diseases, for which current therapies are either highly ineffective or have major limitations.
 
Crucially, the finding also confirms that inflammatory diseases all share a common process, even though the part of the body becoming inflamed might differ.
 
MCC950 is able to be given orally and will be cheaper to produce than current protein-based treatments, which are given daily, weekly, or monthly by injection. Importantly, it will also have a shorter duration in the body, allowing clinicians to stop the anti-inflammatory action of the drug if the patient ever needed to switch their immune response back to 100% in order to clear an infection.
 
So far, the results have shown great promise for blocking multiple sclerosis in a model of that disease, as well as in sepsis, where in response to bacteria, potentially fatal blood poisoning occurs. However, the target for MCC950 is strongly implicated in diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, gout, Parkinson's disease and rheumatoid arthritis, which means it has the potential to treat all of these conditions.
 
Another disease where the new drug might have significant benefits is Muckle-Wells syndrome, which is a rare and severe auto-inflammatory disorder. Using blood samples from patients, the authors showed that MCC950 can block the rogue gene responsible for repeated inflammatory activation in sufferers.
 
Based on material originally posted by Trinity College Dublin.