Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system attacks the soft tissue between joints.
It can cause excess swelling and joint pain, and affects about 400,000 people in the UK.
Researchers created the new treatment to try and absorb some of the fluids around joints which cause the swelling.
The jelly-like material focuses on absorbing nitric oxide – linked to the inflammation – from the fluid.
“Nitric oxide is like a double-edged sword,” said Kim Won Jong, group leader of the study which proved the treatment’s effectiveness.
“It regulates inflammation and protects our body by killing external pathogens.
“However, when in excess, it is toxic and may cause rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.”
Nitric oxide is a gas that stays in the body for less than 10 seconds, before binding to other molecules.
The scientists, from the Institute for Basic Science, are now working on creating a gel to be used in mice trials.
They have to create a similar material, with all the same symptom-relieving properties, but on a much smaller scale for mice.
The gel could also be used to treat other pains and swelling which is caused by nitric oxide, the scientists said.
It could even be used to stop the gas being emitted from car exhausts, seeing as it currently adds to air pollution.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis in the UK, after osteoarthritis.
It affects about one per cent of the UK population.
Those at most risk of the condition include women, those with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis, and smokers.
As well as joint pain and swelling, it can also cause carpel tunnel syndrome, and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.