November 29, 2015
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Rheumatoid Arthritis (cont.)

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What research is being done on rheumatoid arthritis?

Scientists throughout the world are studying many promising areas of new treatment approaches for rheumatoid arthritis. Indeed, treatment guidelines are evolving with the availability of newer treatments. These areas include treatments that block the action of the special inflammation factors, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF alpha), B-cell and T-cell function, as well as interleukin-1 (IL-1), as described above. Many other drugs are being developed that act against certain critical white blood cells and chemical messengers involved in rheumatoid inflammation. Also, new NSAIDs with mechanisms of action that are different from current drugs are on the horizon.

Better methods of more accurately defining which patients are more likely to develop more aggressive disease are becoming available. Recent antibody research has found that the presence of citrulline antibodies in the blood (see above, in diagnosis) has been associated with a greater tendency toward more destructive forms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Studies involving various types of the connective tissue collagen are in progress and show encouraging signs of reducing rheumatoid disease activity. Finally, genetic research and engineering are likely to bring forth many new avenues for earlier diagnosis and accurate treatment in the near future. Gene profiling, also known as gene array analysis, is being identified as a helpful method of defining which people will respond to which medications. Studies are under way that are using gene array analysis to determine which patients will be at more risk for more aggressive disease. This is all occurring because of improvements in technology. We are at the threshold of tremendous improvements in the way rheumatoid arthritis is managed.

Where can people get additional information on rheumatoid arthritis?

For more information about rheumatoid arthritis as well as living with RA and for support groups, please consider the following:

The Arthritis Foundation (
P.O. Box 19000
Atlanta, Georgia 30326
(or contact your local chapter)

For additional information, please contact:

National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Clearinghouse
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

American College of Rheumatology (

Arthritis Today: Fitness (


Firestein, G.S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, 9th Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier, 2012.

Koopman, William, et al., eds. Clinical Primer of Rheumatology. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003.

McInnes, Iain B., and Georg Schett. N Engl J Med 365 (2011): 2205-2219.

Seo, Philip, et al. Oxford American Handbook of Rheumatology. United States: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Weisman, Michael H., et al. Practical Rheumatology, 3rd Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby, 2004.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2015



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