Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful joint disease, affecting any joint in the body, but most commonly the fingers, wrists, knees, ankles and feet. Being able to monitor its progression will help doctors monitor how the disease is developing and how people are responding to treatments, especially the newer disease-modifying drugs. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have brought this a step closer by validating a blood biomarker test created by Crescendo Biosciences, confirming that it could have potential in managing the disease. The results are published in Arthritis Care & Research.
Doctors currently assess the progression of rheumatoid arthritis through observation, including the number of swollen and painful joints, and it can take three to four months to be able to tell whether a particular treatment is working. This test, Vectra DA, is a multibiomarker disease activity (MBDA) test based on 12 biomarkers from a number of different pathways. It has been designed to measure the underlying disease activity in the joints, and will be used alongside a doctor's observations. This gives it potential to come up with indications of how well a treatment is working in just a few weeks, allowing physicians to modify or change treatments more quickly.
In 512 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the researchers compared the MBDA score from the test with the DAS28-CRP score, a measure commonly used in clinical trials, and found that the results were closely linked. They also found that the test could identify those patients who may or may not respond to rheumatoid arthritis drugs including TNF antagonists and methotrexate.
Lead author Jeffrey Curtis said: "The MBDA score is a complementary tool that could provide physicians with an objective, consistent and biologically rich measure of RA disease activity." According to Crescendo Biosciences, Vectra DA is the only multibiomarker blood test for RA disease activity that simultaneously integrates 12 key proteins consistently associated with rheumatoid arthritis.