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Arch Intern Med. 2000 Feb 28;160(4):437-44.

Cytokine blockade as a new strategy to treat rheumatoid arthritis: inhibition of tumor necrosis factor.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0358, USA.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common, frequently severe, chronic inflammatory disease. Although the cause of RA remains unknown, recent advances in understanding its pathogenesis have been substantial. Despite the use of a variety of medications, particularly methotrexate, treatment of RA is not fully effective in most patients. Until recently, insights into inflammatory mechanisms in RA had not been successfully translated into novel classes of therapeutic agents. This gap now will likely be bridged in the form of a new strategy for treating RA-cytokine blockade. Although a variety of cytokines are important in the pathogenesis of RA, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) seems to play a pivotal role. Neutralizing TNF in patients with RA, by means of soluble TNF receptors or anti-TNF monoclonal antibodies, has proven to be a powerful means of controlling disease activity. Studies are in progress to obtain additional information regarding long-term safety of TNF blockade and its effects on disease progression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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