pain relief, rheumatoid arthritis -

RA treatment to get the ‘Cancer’ approach?

Research into individualized treatments have been progressing across nearly all diseases, with a majority aimed at cancer. For the first time, researchers have taken a precision medicine approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

It’s based on genetic profiling of joint tissue to help choose the optimal therapy, according to a study published by Arthritis & Rheumatology.

If these findings translate to a clinical setting, patients may not have to waste time on ineffective treatments that increase the risk of disease progression, according to the researchers.

"Now we can start to predict which drugs a patient will respond to," said co-senior author Harris Perlman, PhD. "We can truly do precision medicine for rheumatoid arthritis. I believe this could be game changing."

The current approach to RA treatment is largely trial and error, with many patients failing to respond to therapy, according to the study authors. Not only can this exacerbate RA, but it also accounts for a significant portion of medical spending waste.

"We have so many different biologic drugs and there's no rhyme or reason to give one drug versus the other," Dr Perlman said. "We waste $2.5 billion a year in ineffective therapy. And patients go through 12 weeks of therapy, don't respond and get upset."

"It's just like oncology, where you go to the tumor. Why go anywhere else? In rheumatoid arthritis, we've never gone to the target organ,” Dr Perlman said.

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