Go! New York: Rheumatoid Arthritis

CBS 2 TV New York—New York, NY—January 19, 2010

Rheumatoid arthritis can be a painful, crippling disease affecting more than a million Americans, mostly woman.

A new medication, Actemra, may revolutionize the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a particularly nasty, auto-immune type of arthritis that can be excruciatingly painful as it destroys joints.

Despite the fact that a number of recent medications have dramatically improved the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, there are still many sufferers who fail all the standard treatments.

"Every practice in and around the community has those individuals whose disease is laughing at all their efforts and available regiments," said Dr. Allan Gibofsky of Hospital for Special Surgery. "So the availability of a novel option, directed against a new target, is I think going to offer significant advantages and hope to patients who've not thus far not been able to get significant relief of their pain, and relief of their symptoms as well."

That new hope now comes in a just-approved drug called Actemra a monoclonal antibody that blocks a receptor for an inflammation chemical in rheumatoid arthritis.

It's an IV infusion that takes an hour and a half. Done about once a month, it's approved for patients who've failed other arthritis treatments.

"We look for relief of signs and symptoms," said Dr. Gibofsky. "We look for the patient telling us that they're feeling better, and we look for the inhibition of progression of the disease, as measured by the x-rays."

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