New evidence shows Rituximab halts damage to joints

June 22, 2006

New data, presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology show for the first time that a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment, rituximab, is able to significantly inhibit the structural damage to joints caused by RA in patients who have long-standing disease and an inadequate response to one or more TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor) inhibitors.

Prevention of joint structural damage in rheumatoid arthritis is a critical therapeutic outcome. Many patients respond well to the TNF inhibitors, a relatively new class of therapy which prevents TNF protein causing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, however approximately 30% - 40% of patients treated with this therapy experience either an inadequate response or are intolerant to such therapies. As such, the study was designed to investigate the effect at 1 year of rituximab (a new therapy targeting B-cells - cells which create abnormal antibodies causing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms) plus methotrexate (an antimetabolite drug which inhibits the synthesis of DNA, RNA and protein, previously the gold standard in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis) on joint structural damage, compared to methotrexate alone in rheumatoid patients with inadequate response to one or more TNF inhibitors.

The results reveal bone erosions in patients in the rituximab group were reduced by over half during the course of a year compared to patients receiving placebo (erosion scores of 0.59 and 1.32 respectively), as were the narrowing of joint spaces (scores of 0.41 and 0.99 respectively). In addition the proportion of patients with no change in erosion score was significantly higher in the rituximab group compared to placebo.

"These findings suggest that treatment with rituximab plus methotrexate is associated with significant inhibition of joint structural damage, an important finding in patients who do not currently respond to other treatments" explained Professor Edward Keystone, Rheumatology Department at the University of Toronto, Canada, one of the studies principle investigators. "Stopping joint damage indicates that the disease pathway has been interrupted, a goal we strive for in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. As such, today's results have the potential to offer many patients a new hope".
For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress press office on:


Jim Baxter - Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7900 605652
Jo Spadaccino - Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7773 271930
Mia Gannedahl - Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7331 2325

Abstract number: OP0016


European League Against Rheumatism

Related Rheumatoid Arthritis Articles from Brightsurf:

Reducing dementia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
The incidence of dementia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is lower in patients receiving biologic or targeted synthetic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) than in patients who receive conventional synthetic DMARDs, according to a new study.

Is rheumatoid arthritis two different diseases?
While disease activity improves over time for most rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, long-term outcomes only improve in RA patients with autoantibodies, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Xanthe Matthijssen of Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands, and colleagues.

Does the Mediterranean diet protect against rheumatoid arthritis?
Previous research has demonstrated a variety of health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, cereals, fruit and vegetables, fish, and a moderate amount of dairy, meat, and wine.

Reducing corticosteroid use in rheumatoid arthritis
Is the long-term use of glucocorticoids essential in people with chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, or can early discontinuation prevent characteristic side effects?

Rheumatoid arthritis patients under treatment with methotrexate
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often suffer from what is referred to as interstitial lung disease (ILD).

Rheumatoid arthritis -- can its onset be delayed or prevented?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that leads to significant health issues as well as high treatment costs.

Disease burden in osteoarthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) has traditionally been viewed as a highly prevalent but milder condition when compared with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and some may believe that it is part of a normal aging process requiring acceptance, not treatment.

Prospect of a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
An international research group led by Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin has completed testing a new drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Can rare lymphocytes combat rheumatoid arthritis?
Immunologists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg have demonstrated that ILC2, a group of rare lymphoid cells, play a key role in the development of inflammatory arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis meets precision medicine
Scientists are bringing precision medicine to rheumatoid arthritis for the first time by using genetic profiling of joint tissue to see which drugs will work for which patients, reports a new multi-site study.

Read More: Rheumatoid Arthritis News and Rheumatoid Arthritis Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to