Arthritis drug shows promise in treating common recurrent fever in kidsPublished On: Sat, Apr 9th, 2011 | Children's Health | By BioNews
A team of researchers at the National Institutes of Health has identified a promising new treatment for common recurrent fever in children.
The syndrome is called periodic fever associated with aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and cervical adenitis — or PFAPA — and is characterized by monthly flare-ups of fever, accompanied by sore throat, swollen glands and mouth lesions.
The proposed treatment, which will be validated in a larger study before it is recommended for treating PFAPA syndrome, wards off an inappropriate immune system attack without increasing the frequency of flare-ups, a problem caused by the current standard treatment with corticosteroids.
“Until now, the basis of PFAPA has been a mystery,” said senior author and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Scientific Director Daniel Kastner. “Advances in genomic analysis have allowed us to define a major role for the innate immune system, the body”s first line of defense against infection. Targeting a specific product of white blood cells at the first sign of fever appears to abort the attacks.”
From their study data, the researchers hypothesized that anakinra, a drug that prevents interleukin-1 from binding to its receptor, could be therapeutic. They administered anakinra by injection to five children on the second day of their PFAPA fevers and all showed a reduction in fever and inflammatory symptoms within hours.
“The anakinra treatment has the potential to restore these children to a mostly symptom-free childhood,” said Kastner.
The findings have been reported in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.