What to Watch: What's Next for Rheumatoid Arthritis

What to Watch: What's Next for Rheumatoid Arthritis

08.04.11 | By Kate Connors

Recently Merck researcher Dr. Rupert Vessey sat down with PhRMA to talk about arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, and the importance of treatment in this field.
From painful symptoms to related complications, rheumatoid arthritis offers serious challenges to patients and physicians alike. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of the body's immune system activity. It is one of the most serious and disabling forms of arthritis, affecting mostly women

According to Dr. Vessey, however, the treatment of this disease has evolved in the last ten years: "There were always older medicines that were available, and some of them still form the cornerstone of treatment of this disorder. But for the last decade, rheumatoid arthritis has [been the subject of] development of a whole new generation of medicines known as biologics."
That work is ongoing, he says: "We're still exploring the best way to use those medicines, particularly using them early in the treatment of the disease in order to induce disease remission."
He also stressed that research is ongoing into how to identify likely rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and how to prevent the debilitating disease in those patients.
That's just some of the research that makes up the 198 medicines currently being studied by America's biopharmaceutical research companies for musculoskeletal diseases such as arthritis.

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