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New drug tested to treat rheumatoid arthritis

A new possible treatment might soon come up with the final testing of a new drug showing positive signs of treatment on rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Written by Sudhakar Jha |Published : August 24, 2018 1:19 PM IST

An international research group led by Charit Universit tsmedizin, Berlin has successfully completed the phase 3 and final testing of a new drug that could possibly treat rheumatoid arthritis. While there s no cure for the disease, medication and physiotherapy are the types of treatments available to slow down the progression and manage the problems associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

The research paper, published in the journal, The Lancet, concluded that the new drug has a positive effect on the patients with moderate to severe forms of the disease who have shown an inadequate response to conventional disease-modifying drugs.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints and tendons and is typically characterised by immense pain in the affected areas. Dr. Gerd-R diger Burmester, Head of Charit 's Medical Department, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, conducted the study to assess the efficiency of upadacitinib in patients with an inadequate response to 'conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs'. Upadacitinib is a selective inhibitor of the enzyme Janus Kinase 1 (JAK1) and has been shown to be very useful in this patient group in earlier phase II clinical trials. By inhibiting JAK1, upadacitinib disrupts an important signaling pathway that is responsible for triggering inflammatory responses.

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In the phase III study, patients treated with upadacitinib showed significant improvements in joint swelling in comparison to the patients who were receiving placebo. Patients also experienced less pain and showed improvements in joint function. Prof. Burmester said, "Our results prove that JAK inhibitors represent an effective treatment alternative in patients with long-term conditions who do not respond adequately to conventional drugs, and in those for whom biologics are not a good treatment option. JAK inhibitors could help these patients achieve a quick response to treatment, allowing them to gain control over their illness. AbbVie, the trial sponsor, is currently in the process of collating all trial results and submitting them to the European and US regulatory authorities for review."

The new tablet-based treatment is a good sign for the patients as this untreatable disease might soon be curable or at least manageable.

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