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Antibodies reveal rheumatoid arthritis before it breaks out


Now patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be diagnosed considerably earlier, thereby increasing their chances of being treated successfully. This is a consequence of new findings by Professor Solbritt Rantapää-Dahlqvist’s research team at the Unit for Rheumology, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University in Sweden.

Rheumatoid arthritis, also known as arthritic rheumatism, is a severe disease where the body’s immune defense system attacks the body’s own joint cartilage. In many cases the disease leads to severe pain and crippled joints, above all in the hands and fingers. Hereditary factors have been shown to be important in how the disease develops.

The discovery that patients with rheumatoid arthritis develop antibodies against citrullin (CCP) several years before the onset of the disease represents a new way to diagnose the disorder long before it breaks out. This means that treatment can be introduced even before the patient experiences any symptoms, by so-called screening of middle-aged people with RA in the family.

Rantapää-Dahlqvist’s study was published in the October issue of Arthritis & rheumatism, which is the highest ranked rheumatology journal in the world. The title of the article is “Antibodies against Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (CCP) and Immunoglobulin-A Rheumatoid Factor predict the development of Rheumatoid Arthritis,” and it has already attracted international attention.

Bertil Born | alfa
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