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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2009, Article ID 698769, 16 pages
Review Article

The Discovery of Novel Experimental Therapies for Inflammatory Arthritis

Division of Rheumatic Diseases, Department of Medicine, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

Received 25 September 2009; Accepted 21 December 2009

Academic Editor: Fulvio D'Acquisto

Copyright © 2009 Charles J. Malemud. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Conventional and biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs have revolutionized the medical therapy of inflammatory arthritis. However, it remains unclear as to what can be done to treat immune-mediated chronic inflammation after patients become refractory to these therapies or develop serious side-effects and/or infections forcing drug withdrawal. Because of these concerns it is imperative that novel targets be continuously identified and experimental strategies designed to test potential arthritis interventions in vitro, but more importantly, in well-validated animal models of inflammatory arthritis. Over the past few years, sphingosine-1-phosphate, interleukin-7 receptor, spleen tyrosine kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase 5/p38 kinase regulated/activated protein kinase, micro-RNAs, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand and the polyubiquitin-proteasome pathway were identified as promising novel targets for potential antiarthritis drug development. Indeed several experimental compounds alter the biological activity of these targets and have shown clinical efficacy in animal models of arthritis. A few of them have even entered the first phase of human clinical trials.