The Denver Post,
Friday September 24, 1993
Chicken Protein halts swelling, pain of arthritis patients in trial
WASHINGTON - A protein from chicken bones stopped the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis for patients in a clinical experiment, and experts say the novel treatment holds promise for control of the crippling disease.
Dr. David Trentham, of Beth Israel hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said that a collagen solution made from chicken cartilage and swirled into patients' morning orange juice appeared to arrest the progress of rheumatoid arthritis in a small group that was studied.
The technique, which he called "oral tolerization", seems to "teach" the body to stop inflaming the tissue around joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be an autoimmune disease caused by rogue cells of the immune system attacking membranes in joints.
Trentham said that swallowing protein that is similar to the membrane of the joints "reinstructs the body to cease the attack on the body's own joints".
All 28 patients taking the collagen during the three-month trial got relief from their disease and four went into remission, said Trentham. The disease became worse in 31 patients who received a placebo..
A report on the study is to be published today in the journal Svience.
Dr. Arthur Grayzel, senior vice president for medical affairs of the Arthritis Foundation, said he was quite encouraged by the study and believes oral tolerization techniques have the potential of halting rheumatoid arthritis. But he cautioned that a much larger trial of the collagen treatment should be undertaken.
The study used 60 rheumatoid arthritis patients selected from a group who had not responded well to conventional treatment.
A group of 28 were given daily solutions of what is called type II collagen derived from chickens.
"It is purified from chicken simply because that is the least expensive way of making it, and we can be sure it is free of viral contaminants," said Trentham.
After three months, it was clear that the drug was beneficial.
Researchers cautioned that the collagen used in the experiment is not the same as the collagen found in cosmetic and health food stores." (Note: The chicken protein compound mentioned in the news article has been patented, and is not generally available.)