News

Rheumatoid Arthritis: New Approaches to Therapy


Personalized medicine as the most important trend in rheumatoid arthritis
The treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis have improved significantly in recent years. The most important trend is currently the so-called personalized medicine. Nevertheless, the therapy is quite difficult for some patients. However, they may be able to help you with a new drug in the near future.

Precision medicine or personalized medicine is also the most important and current trend in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, report the experts Prof. Josef Smolen and Daniel Aletaha from MedUni Vienna together with Prof. Iain McInnes from the University of Glasgow in a contribution for the renowned Trade magazine "The Lancet". "Nowadays, personalized medicine for rheumatism means that it can be determined more precisely than before for each patient which therapy works best and fastest, and which one is rather unsuitable," according to the corresponding press release from MedUni Vienna.

Without therapy, the joints are destroyed
Chronic autoimmune disease in the form of rheumatoid arthritis mainly affects women (around two thirds of those affected) and is most often diagnosed in patients between the ages of 40 and 70, the experts report. About one percent of the population worldwide is affected by the disease. This is characterized by “inflammation in the joints. Swelling, overheating and a functional restriction, ”said MedUni Vienna. Without appropriate therapy, the disease leads to increasing destruction of the joints and the bone close to the joint, which leads to malpositions, deformations and increasing permanent disabilities. However, rheumatoid arthritis is relatively easy to treat in most patients today.

Moving away from the currently used biologic injections
The focus in therapy has shifted more and more towards personalized medicine in the past few years, which, according to the experts, enabled significantly better treatment results. The central results of the expert review also confirm that "we at the MedUni Vienna know both clinically and scientifically very well how rheumatoid arthritis works, how to quickly diagnose, evaluate and optimally treat the disease," emphasizes the rheumatologist Prof. Dr. med. Smolen. With the possibilities of precision medicine, the therapy of the future will also turn away from the currently widely used biologicals by means of injection. Instead, oral, drug therapies would be provided, which were “tailored” to the inhibition of certain molecules within a cell.

New drug already tested
MedUni Vienna further reports that Prof. Smolen and colleagues only completed a phase 3 clinical study in April 2016, in which significant treatment successes with the active ingredient baricitinib could be achieved. Baricitinib is an “orally administered inhibitor (inhibitor) of Janus kinase 1 and 2,” the scientists explain. According to the researchers, it can be used to achieve significant improvements in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. "With baricitinib, we have a new active ingredient at hand that works even when the medication currently in use is insufficient," said Prof. Smolen.

Baricitinib already available in 2017?
According to the experts, baricitinib could provide a new active ingredient as a basis for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in the near future. The decision on approval should be made in the coming weeks. "An application in clinical practice is realistic from 2017", Prof. estimates. But even with the new active ingredient, it is always necessary to precisely assess for which patients this therapy and for which the biologics are better, according to the expert. (fp)

Author and source information



Video: Gut Bacteria Hold Potential for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis, Mayo Study Finds (October 2021).