Immune Response Corp. has filed an investigational new drugapplication to test a therapeutic vaccine for rheumatoidarthritis in Phase I/II trials.

The San Diego company (NASDAQ:IMNR) intends to begin thetrial early next year in patients with advanced stages of thejoint-crippling disease.

The vaccine is derived from receptors on the surfaces of T cellsthat the company has found in samples from patients. In theDec. 2 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy ofSciences, company scientists reported that in test tubes theVB17 T cells attack and kill cells lining joints.

Vaccination is intended to stimulate the immune system to stopthe disease-causing T cells by calling attention to their specificcell surface markers.

Existing treatments address symptoms but do not halt theimmune-mediated erosion of joint tissues. Therapies thatsuppress the immune system in general leave patients liable toinfection.

The company's stock picked up 50 cents to $37.25 on Tuesday.

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