A new study shows a novel new drug is beneficial for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The drug targets T cells and is the first in a new class of drugs to be tested for rheumatoid arthritis.
The drug is called cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4-IgG1 or CTLA4Ig. Preliminary research shows CTLA4Ig may be effective for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers from Belgium conducted a study to see if this drug is helpful for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes progressive joint damage and disability. For the study, researchers assigned patients to receive one of two doses of CTLA4Ig or placebo. All of the patients also received methotrexate therapy during the study. Researchers assessed the patients after six months using the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). The ACR defines the response to the treatment according to its extent. A 20 percent clinical response rate is noted as ACR 20, 50 percent is ACR 50, and 70 percent is ACR 70. Researchers also looked at the patients' quality of life.
Researchers report the patients treated with the higher dose of CTLA4Ig were more likely to have an ACR 20 than patients who received placebo. Higher rates of ACR 50 and ACR 70 were seen in both groups on the drug compared to placebo. The patients on the higher dose of the drug also saw improvements in eight measures of quality of life.
Study authors conclude the combination of CTLA4Ig and methotrexate improved the signs and symptoms of the disease, physical function, and quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers also say both doses of the drug were well tolerated by the patients. They say this study shows the value of this new class of drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.