Arthritis News – 1999
Moreland et al (Arthritis & Rheumatism 41:1919, 1998) demonstrated safety and clinical improvement in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients using T cell receptor (TCR) peptide vaccine therapy. This conclusion is based on a double blind, placebo-controlled multicenter, phase II clinical trial using IR501, a combination of 3 TCR peptides, Vb3, Vb14, and Vb17. The use of T cell receptor (TCR) peptides as vaccines is based on the hypothesis that autoreactive T cells play a role in the inflammation and joint destruction of RA.
A total of 99 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis patients participated. A single intramuscular injection containing IR501 at either 90mg (n=31) or 300mg (n=35) or vehicle alone (n=33) was administered at weeks 0, 4, 8, and 20. Based upon the ACR 20% improvement criteria, (see Definition of Improvement in RA trials) the 90 mg group demonstrated statistically significant improvement compared with the placebo control group at the 20 -week time point. Trends toward improvement were observed in both the 90 and 300 mg group at 24 weeks, but these did not reach statistical significance. No differences were noted in the incidence of adverse events between the treatment and control groups. Further studies are underway to confirm and extend these observations.
Editor This is one of the few T cell directed therapies that appears to show some promise in the treatment of RA.