Breakthrough Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

In several very small studies, an experimental treatment called B Lymphocyte Depletion Therapy reduced rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms by 70% and kept patients feeling nearly symptom-free for more than a year. (Presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, Nov 2000)

Among the first five patients studied, two needed further treatment. But all resumed normal activities, including gardening and working out at the gym.

A larger trial is underway, and a study to determine safety and dosage is due to start in less than a year. If successful, the therapy could be available in 2 years. A combination of intravenous and oral medications, the treatment removes B lymphocyte cells, which produce the antibodies believed to cause RA, from the bloodstream, says Jonathan C. W. Edwards, MD, study author and professor of connective tissue medicine at University College in London.

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By Bridget Doherty , ScD bertson tant

Edited by Sari Harrar

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