As medical science continues to advance, breakthroughs are being made in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Here are the top five latest developments in the treatment of this disease.
The discovery of a new type of T cell that drives inflammation in RA patients
A new type of T cell has been discovered and has been shown to be found in large numbers in the joints of people with RA. Researchers at Brigham and Woman’s hospital are currently researching this new cell and its role in the RA disease process. Additionally, therapies are being explored which target this new T cell and attempt to reduce its large presence in the joints of people with RA. Therapies that do this effectively could potentially improve symptoms for those with this illness.
The discovery of a new drug that could help treat “refractory RA patients”
Roughly 30 percent of RA patients achieve remission in one to two years with the help of various treatment. However, 70 percent do not. These people can have symptoms for years, or even for the rest of their lives. However, a new drug called sirukumab has been showing promise as a treatment for the refractory RA patients, who do not achieve remission in the first two years. Sirukumab was tested in a multinational steady headed by rheumatologist Daniel Aletaha. The results of the study showed that sirukumab helped to reduce inflammation in many of the study subjects.
The identification of a new biologic that could help reduce inflammation in RA patients
Four phase III clinical trials have now been completed for a biologic called Baricitinib. Baricitinib helps to inhibit intracellular pathways that are believed to be connected to the RA disease process. Baricitinib can be taken orally, has a rapid onset of action, and only has to be taken once per day. In the trials, it showed positive results for improving symptoms of RA patients. However, further research is needed to determine its safety.
The creation of a breakthrough vaccine-style treatment
A new, vaccine-style treatment called Den-181 was created by the researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Den-181 works like a vaccine. However, instead of educating the immune system to react to a certain stimulus, it tells it to not react to it. This treatment could hypothetically reprogram the immune systems of RA patients so that their immune systems stop attacking their own bodies. Den-181 has progressed to human trials and is showing exciting potential.
The use of precision medicine for RA treatment
Precision medicine is starting to be used for RA. Precision medicine involves conducting genetic testing on patients to determine which therapy will work best for them based on their genetic profile. This type of medicine could prevent wasting months of treatment with ineffective therapies for RA patients. Precision medicine for RA treatment is currently being studied at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Researchers there are very optimistic about it. In fact, the Chief of Rheumatology at the university, Harris Perlman, even went as far as to say, “I believe this (precision medicine for RA treatment) could be game-changing.”