Rheumatoid arthritis drugs too slow to stop damage



Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have identified a common gene variant that appears to influence people’s risk of developing high blood pressure, according to the results of a study being published online Dec. 29, 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The STK39 gene is the first

Full Post: Researchers identify common gene variant linked to high blood pressure

A study by New Zealand researchers has questioned the current treatment approaches for rheumatoid arthritis and say they may be too slow in controlling the start of the joint damage the disease causes.

The team at the University of Otago Christchurch say their research raises serious questions about the drug Methotrexate which is commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints causing inflammation (arthritis) and destruction - it can also damage organs, such as the lungs and skin. It can be a disabling and painful condition which affects the whole body and leading to substantial loss of functioning and mobility; many who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are in constant pain and sometimes crippled by the disease because of joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis affects more women than men, and usually starts at age 25 or older - the cause remains unknown

For their study the researchers measured the active forms of methotrexate in blood cells in patients starting and stopping treatment and discovered that it takes much longer than initially thought for the drug to reach steady blood levels.

Rheumatologist Dr Lisa Stamp says their research raised some serious questions about current methotrexate dosing regimens when starting the drug and it appears that larger doses, more rapid dose escalation, or possibly administration by injection under the skin may lead to more rapid accumulation in the blood and potentially earlier disease control.

Methotrexate is usually taken orally and binds to and inhibits several important enzymes affecting a number of inflammatory pathways thereby limiting or controlling joint inflammation and the subsequent damage. As a rule doses start at low levels, based on the ‘response to treatment’, with amounts increasing until the disease is under control, but the researchers say valuable time may be lost with this method, resulting in unnecessary joint damage.

Dr Stamp says one of the reasons for this approach with methotrexate, the ‘response to treatment’, is based on the number of possible side-effects from the drug including nausea and injecting under the skin may resolve this problem.

The researchers measured methotrexate polyglutamates - active forms of the drug - in red blood cells in 10 patients who were beginning treatment and 10 who were stopping and found in those patients starting treatment the median time until the methotrexate concentrations were nearly stable was 27.5 weeks.

For those patients stopping treatment it took 15 weeks for the drug to be undetectable in their red blood cells, which may relate to the lifespan of red blood cells of about 120 days.

The researchers say it may be necessary to consider either injecting the drug or rapidly increasing oral doses, in order to reach optimum stable levels much earlier, to improve the beneficial effects on joint damage.

This study is published in the November issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Link




Although there has been an increase in the number of new arthritis treatments in recent years, the best results will come from more effective use of the drugs we have. Research published today in BioMed Central’s open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy investigates the effectiveness of available arthritis drugs and concludes that better

Full Post: Better management of arthritis more important than new drugs



Methotrexate (MTX), a folate antagonist that blocks folic acid activity, is the most widely used disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) for rheumatoid arthritis. It enters the cell via several pathways, one of which involves folate receptor β (FRβ), which is highly specific for cells present in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). During the

Full Post: New folate antagonists selectively target pathway important in rheumatoid arthritis



MorphoSys AG and the University of Melbourne announced today that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has confirmed that it will issue U.S. Patent No. 7,455,836, covering key uses of antibodies against GM-CSF. The patent stems from a provisional patent application filed in the USPTO in 2000 by the University of Melbourne. In

Full Post: MorphoSys granted U.S. patent on antibodies against GM-CSF to treat inflammatory disorders



Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, inflammatory type of arthritis that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks itself. A new paper, published in this week’s issue of PLoS Biology, reports a breakthrough in the understanding of how autoimmune responses can be controlled, offering a promising new strategy for therapy development for rheumatoid arthritis. Normally, immune

Full Post: Breakthrough in rheumatoid arthritis research



Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Takeda Global Research & Development Center, Inc., U.S., announced today that the Arthritis Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that the FDA approve febuxostat for the treatment of hyperuricemia in patients with gout. The vote was 12 to zero in favor of

Full Post: Febuxostat recommended by panel for treatment of hyperuricemia in patients with gout