Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Velcade Shows Promise
Those who suffer with Rheumatoid Arthritis know just how painful the disease is. And, there are a lot of you. Its estimated that 50 million American adults report being told by their doctor they have some form of arthritis. RA is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation and joint destruction. There are treatments that can help, but they dont work for everyone, and often the side effects are debilitating.
Now, a just released study published in the November issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (a journal of the American College of Rheumatology ACR) shows that the drug bortezomib (Velcade) may help reduce the severity and inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis; it may even promote bone healing. And the drug isnt new. Its already being used to treat multiple myeloma (bone cancer).
The study was conducted by Greek researchers. Its leader, Evangelia Yannaki, M.D, of George Papanicolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece, explained the drive for the study as reported in the journal: "Given the lack of options for poor responders and the increased risk of infections and malignancies with available biologic agents for RA, there is a great need for novel therapies that are safe and effective."
The research team looked at bortezomib as a treatment for RA because the drug targets multiple pathways. Their analysis demonstrated that in vitro, bortezomib significantly reduced proliferation and increased death of the inflammatory cells in rats with RA. The researchers noted that joints in animals treated with the drug displayed limited damage and inflammation, and an obvious bone healing effect was also observed.