Rheumatoid arthritis is a common condition affecting approximately 1% of the UK population; it is an autoimmune disease where the body’s natural defences (the immune system) attack the body itself resulting, most notably, in joint damage and arthritis. To help prevent this, patients with rheumatoid arthritis need to take disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). As rheumatoid arthritis is a life-long condition, these drug treatments are prescribed as long-term medications taken for many years.
With successful drug treatment, many patients are able to achieve an excellent control of their disease and their arthritis can go in to remission. At present, there are no markers which can reliably predict which of these patients can reduce their drug treatment, and hence benefit from a lower risk of side effects and inconvenience, without an increase in their arthritis activity.
The main aim of this research project is to identify clinical, ultrasound and blood markers that can predict which patients will remain in remission after stopping DMARD medication. If identified, these markers could be a useful guide to doctors and patients in the future when deciding whether to stop DMARD therapy.
For further information on the BioRRA study, please click here.