Encouraging News for Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers

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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a painful, chronic, progressive and disabling auto-immune disease. Newly released data has shown that a novel biologic, Actemra (tocilizumab),  is superior to current standard of care in RA patients. Actemra is a humanised monoclonal antibody to the interleukin-6 receptor that blocks the activity of interleukin-6, a protein that plays a major role in the RA inflammatory process. Actemra is awaiting approval in the United States and Europe.  In Japan, Actemra was approved for the treatment of RA in April 2008.

Other biologics are already used to treat RA and act at different points in the inflammatory process.

Orencia® (abatacept) works by reducing the activation of T-cells, which reduces the activation of other cells in the RA inflammatory process. Humera®(adalimumab), Enbrel®( etanercept) and Remicade® (infliximab) block the action of TNF-alpha, an inflammatory cytokine that leads to tissue damage. Mabthera® (rituximab) targets B cells, one of the key players in the pathogenesis of RA. Kineret® (anakinra) blocks the actions of the cytokine, IL-1.

The biologic medicines are usually prescribed together with the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug, methotrexate.
RA cellular pathway


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