Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Three New Drugs Mark New Era In Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Three new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have ushered in a new era of treatment for this difficult and debilitating condition. The findings are reported in a New Drug Class study published early Online and in an upcoming edition of The Lancet.

RA is the most common of all chronic inflammatory joint diseases, affecting 0.5-1% of the population in the industrialised world. Its typical symptoms are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling due to synovial inflammation and effusion.

Professor Josef Smolen, Division of Rheumatology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria and colleagues did a comprehensive study of the three new drugs – rituximab, abatacept and tocilizumab – and their effects as sole therapies or working in conjunction with existing treatments. They explore the pathogenesis of RA and the various routes for targeting treatments, including new therapeutic strategies, and also provide a comprehensive overview on ways to assess treatment response.

The authors say: “The enormous consequences for the individual and for health-care and socioeconomic systems can only be prevented by effective treatments.”

Traditional treatments for RA include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucocorticoids, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Only DMARDs, and to some extent glucocorticoids, can impede or stop the inflammatory and destructive disease processes. Methotrexate is the most widely used DMARD and is a cornerstone of most RA treatment regimens.

Of the three new drugs, rituximab and abatacept have been approved for RA treatment, while the third, tocilizumab, is in phase III trials. Rituximab targets the CD20 antigen in certain cells, and leads to a reduction in the CD20 cell count. Trials of rituximab showed it reduced RA symptoms by more than 50% for more than a third of patients.

Abatacept works by interfering in the T-cell activation response, viewed as vital in the mechanism of RA. A trial combining abatacept at 10mg per kg bodyweight for patients with their existing methotrexate treatment also found a reduction of RA symptoms of around 50% in some 40% of patients. This effect was much more pronounced than in patients given placebo instead of abatacept.

Tocilizumab targets interleukin-6, which is known to activate many cell populations. As with abatacept, combining tocilizumab with methotrexate reduced RA symptoms (in a phase II trial) by 50% in more than 40% of the patients.

Side effects vary between the drugs. Infusion reactions occurred in 30-35% of rituximab patients on first infusion, and rates of serious infections were higher with rituximab patients than those given placebo. Patients taking abatacept had higher incidence of headache, dizziness and serious infections than placebo. And some patients taking tocilizumab experienced headache and skin eruptions, stomatitis, fever, and increases in cholesterol levels and liver enzymes compared to placebo in phase II trials.

The authors conclude by saying all three new drugs diminish signs and symptoms of RA and improve physical function and health status, and retard progression of joint damage – thus expanding the range of treatments to fight RA.

But they conclude: “The many patients who obtain insufficient responses to established and novel treatments indicate the need to search for further therapies and treatment principles to increase response rates and to achieve high frequencies of remission or even cure in rheumatoid arthritis. The prospects are here.”

Tony Kirby | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: DMARD Rituximab Tocilizumab abatacept patients symptoms

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>