Candace Cham, Ph.D.

Candace Cham, Ph.D.

2009-2010

Testing a New Therapy

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Candace Cham, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Stanford, CA
Jack and Vonnie Schlomer Memorial Fellow
New humanized mouse model of chronic rheumatoid arthritis in humans

In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the immune system attacks and damages the individual’s own joints. RA is characterized by episodes of acute inflammation, followed by long periods of smoldering disease with chronic joint pain and slow but progressive cartilage and bone destruction, eventually leading to loss of joint function. Recently, significant progress has been made in understanding the underlying causes of RA. The cytokine IL-17 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of RA, particularly with respect to bone erosions. Furthermore, a subtype of T cells (Th17 cells) has been found to produce abundant amounts of IL-17. These observations make IL-17 an exciting new target for the treatment of severe RA.

During the past year Dr. Cham has demonstrated that her humanized mouse model of RA develops a very severe arthritic disease which persists even after the acute phase of inflammation has subsided. By using imaging tools, areas of inflammation could be seen specifically in the paws of arthritic mice. In the coming year, she plans to use the humanized mouse model of RA to test a potential biological therapeutic, anti-IL-17. She will compare the efficacy of anti-IL-17 treatment with anti-TNF therapy (a well-tested therapy for RA) by evaluating the following: 1) how well anti-IL-17 controls inflammation in established disease and 2) whether anti-IL-17 blocks destructive bone erosions seen in the later stages of disease.

ANRF
Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation
arthritisresearch@curearthritis.org

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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