Rheumatoid Arthritis Biomarker Test Shows Promise

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Main Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology
Article Date: 29 Jun 2012 – 9:00 PDT

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A new study led by researchers at the University of Alabama, reveals that a multi-biomarker blood test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may help physicians track the progression of RA disease activity. The study is published online in Arthritis Care and Research.

Jeffrey Curtis, M.D., associate professor in the division of clinical immunology and rheumatology and lead author of the study explained:

“Previously, the disease activity of RA was assessed through clinical observation by a physician, noting the number of tender and swollen joints and assessing pain and functional abilities.

This blood test measures the underlying amount of RA activity within the joints using sophisticated biochemical means intended to reflect the underlying pathophysiology of the disease. A highly reproducible, easily standardized blood test that measures multiple biologic pathways to augment a physician’s and patient’s clinical assessment has not been previously available to physicians.”

The researchers highlight that the test, called Vectra DA, should provide different, but complementary, information from clinical assessment as it emphasizes the activity of underlying biological pathways instead of external signs and symptoms. In addition, the test may help evaluate how well patients respond to treatments. Currently it takes around three to four months in order to determine whether a particular treatment is effective, but the blood test could show therapy effectiveness in just a few weeks.

Vectra DA, developed by Crescendo Bioscience® of South San Francisco, is a measure of inflammation. The test looks for the presence of 12 cytokines (biomarkers) that can indicate the presence of disease.

The 12 biomarkers used in the multi-biomarker disease activity (MBDA) test were selected in previous studies from 396 candidates. In these studies the researchers determined an algorithm that weighted the significance of each biomarker and produced a composite score.

According to Curtis: “The MBDA score is a complementary tool that could provide physicians with an objective consistent and biologically rich measure of RA disease activity.”

Furthermore, Vectra DA could help predict potential disease flare-ups as well as subsequent joint damage, say the researchers, but those potential applications have not been shown yet.

The study, which involved 512 patients with RA, was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and various pharmaceutical companies.

Written by Grace Rattue

Copyright: Medical News Today

Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

  • Additional
  • References
  • Citations

Validation of a novel multi-biomarker test to assess rheumatoid arthritis disease activity
Jeffrey R. Curtis, Annette H. van der Helm-van Mil, Rachel Kneve, Tom W. Huizinga, Douglas J. Haney, Yijing Shen, Saroja Ramanujan, Guy Cavet, Michael Centola, Lyndal K. Hesterberg, David Chernoff, Kerri Ford, Nancy A. Shadick, Max Hamburger Roy Fleischmann Edward Keystone Michael E. Weinblatt
Arthritis Care and Research, June 2012, doi: 10.1002/acr.21767

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