Using antibodies against immune deficiency

September 27, 2012

Early, intensive therapy with a biotechnologically produced medication can provide significantly faster pain relief for patients with rheumatic joint inflammation. Damage to joints can also be reduced when the medication is applied right at the beginning of the illness. A nationwide study sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and conducted by Prof. Gerd-Rüdiger Burmester, director of the Medical Department, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, came to this conclusion. Findings are published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

In the study, the standard preparation of methotrexate was tested in comparison with a combined therapy of methotrexate and the biological agent (or biologic) adalimumab in treating . Biologics are a particular group of medication produced from living cells using methods of molecular biology. The medication exclusively targets particular messenger substances in the immune system. It clings to the body's inflammatory substances and renders them harmless. Pain, swelling and the progress of inflammation are thus prevented.

The medication tested by Prof. Burmester's work group is called and was approved ten years ago. It is one of the most frequently prescribed biologics worldwide. It is prescribed when standard therapies are inadequate or when side effects develop. The Charité study examined how the medication affects patients with rheumatoid when the therapy is started immediately following diagnosis and not only when other therapies do not take effect. had rheumatoid arthritis in the early stages, however, were considerably limited in their daily activities as a result of the symptoms. Half of the patients were given the combination therapy for six months and the other half serving as the comparison group was given the standard medication and a placebo. All test participants were then given methotrexate for another six months. Though both groups had comparable symptoms at the end of study, the group that was given the biologic experienced significantly faster pain relief. Furthermore, x-rays showed less bone damage in those patients compared to the placebo group. Prof. Burmester is confident: "We were able to show that early, intensive therapy with this biologic helps patients maintain their quality of life and prevent bone damage."

Explore further: Head-to-head study in RA shows that abatacept has comparable efficacy to adalimumab

More information: Detert J, et al. Induction therapy with adalimumab plus methotrexate for 24 weeks followed by methotrexate monotherapy up to week 48 versus methotrexate therapy alone for DMARD naive patients with early rheumatoid arthritis: HIT HARD, an investigator-initiated study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2012 Jul 10. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201612. http://ard.bmj.com/content/early/2012/06/26/annrheumdis-2012-201612.full

Related Stories

Head-to-head study in RA shows that abatacept has comparable efficacy to adalimumab

June 7, 2012
Data from one of the few head-to-head trials in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, demonstrates that at one year, 64.8% of patients receiving ...

No difference in death rates among patients exposed to common rheumatoid arthritis drugs

August 8, 2012
New research confirms no significant difference in the rates of death among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who were exposed to one of several TNF inhibitors used to treat RA, adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), ...

Recommended for you

Improving the recognition of anxiety and depression in rheumatoid arthritis

August 28, 2017
A study conducted by Keele University shows that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who are also suffering with anxiety or depression may avoid talking to their GP about their mental health symptoms.

How you think about your arthritis makes a difference

August 24, 2017
(HealthDay)—How well you cope with knee arthritis depends a lot on your mental outlook, a new study suggests.

Treating arthritis with algae

August 23, 2017
Researchers at ETH Zurich, Empa and the Norwegian research institute SINTEF are pursuing a new approach to treating arthritis. This is based on a polysaccharide, a long-chain sugar molecule, originating from brown algae. ...

Study shows prevalence of knee osteoarthritis has doubled since World War II

August 14, 2017
The average American today is twice as likely to be diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis than in the years before World War II, Harvard scientists say, but that increase can't be blamed on the reasons most might think.

Researchers find arthritis drug could treat blood cancer patients

August 3, 2017
Blood cancer sufferers could be treated with a simple arthritis drug, scientists at the University of Sheffield have discovered.

Fluid in the knee holds clues for why osteoarthritis is more common in females

June 26, 2017
Researchers have more evidence that males and females are different, this time in the fluid that helps protect the cartilage in their knee joints.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.