DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

Reports From National Arthritis Meeting 2003

Perspectives of Interest On Arthritis Drugs & New Medications From 2003 Annual Scientific Meeting Of The American College of Rheumatology.

Introduction

Scientists throughout the world are studying many promising areas of new treatment approaches for arthritis and rheumatic diseases. These areas include monoclonal antibody therapy that is directed against a special inflammation factor called the tumor necrosis factor (TNFalpha) (as described below regarding Remicade and Enbrel), and new TNF human antibodies. Also, new non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with mechanisms of action that are different from current drugs, are on the horizon. Genetic research and engineering are also likely to bring forth many new avenues of earlier diagnosis and treatment in the near future.

Below are perspectives on key research reports presented at the recent national meeting of the American College of Rheumatology:

Remicade (infliximab)

Remicade (infliximab) is an antibody that blocks the effects of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is a substance made by cells of the body that has an important role in promoting inflammation. TNF promotes the inflammation and its associated fever and signs (pain, tenderness, and swelling) in several inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. By blocking the action of TNF-alpha, infliximab reduces the signs and symptoms of inflammation and stops the progression of joint damage. Remicade is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and other serious forms of inflammation such as uveitis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Remicade is given by intravenous infusion over approximately 2 hours, usually every 4-8 weeks.