Mayo Clinic: A Mayo Clinic study is shedding light on why some rheumatoid arthritis patients respond poorly when treated with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, part of a class of drugs call biologics. It comes down to proteins: specifically, a protein in the body that drives inflammation in the disease, the research found. The discovery is an important step toward better personalizing rheumatoid arthritis treatment, helping to avoid trial and error when prescribing medications. The findings were presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in San Francisco.
Researchers found that patients with a higher amount or higher proportion of an inflammatory protein called type 1 interferon
beta compared with another inflammatory protein, type 1 interferon
alpha, do not respond as well to tumor necrosis factor inhibitors as
others. They looked at white blood cells called monocytes,
a major cell type involved in rheumatoid arthritis, and found that
those cells behaved differently in one group than in the other.
The discovery paves the way for a more personalized approach to treatment in rheumatoid arthritis based on the biology of a particular patient’s disease.
“Investigating these pathways may identify other targets for therapy
or other markers that predict treatment response,” says first author Theresa Wampler Muskardin, M.D.,
a rheumatologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “It will help
rheumatologists find the right drug for each patient and spare patients
medications that won’t work for them.”