New test could predict arthritis drug failure

RA is a chronic disease which affects up to 1.5% of the population.  It is a significant health burden for patients, who can experience pain, reduced mobility and premature death unless they receive effective treatment. 

A study of 311 patients by The University of Manchester has found that it may be possible to predict early which rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients will fail to respond to the biologic drugs given to treat them. These findings could help better manage patients’ symptoms.

Biologics are a relatively new form of treatment for RA.  Given by injection, they work by stopping particular chemicals in the blood from activating the immune system and attacking the joints.  Biologics are usually given in combination with an anti-rheumatic, such as methotrexate, once the anti-rheumatic alone is no longer effective.

Biologic drugs have dramatically improved the long-term health of people with severe RA, reducing symptoms as well as joint damage and disability. However, in about one in five patients the treatment stops working after a few months – sometimes as a result of anti-drug antibodies being formed – limiting their effectiveness.

The new study, funded by the Medical Research CouncilArthritis Research UKand the NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, shows that testing at random times is also effective and makes it easier to use in a clinical setting.

The paper, ‘Clinical Utility of Random Anti-TNF Drug Level Testing and Measurement of Anti-Drug Antibodies on Long-Term Treatment Response in Rheumatoid Arthritis’, was published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology.

You can Read the full press release.on the University of Manchester's website.

More articles     Posted on: 07 July 2015