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Global Health News and Reports

Over one-third of refractory lupus patients remain stable at long term follow-up

Contact: Rory Berrie
eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
44-790-069-8946
European League Against Rheumatism

Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 14 June 2007: 36% of patients with refractory systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) remain well after undergoing B-cell depletion therapy (BCDT) without needing further standard immunosuppressive agents, according to a study presented today at EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Barcelona, Spain.

Overactive B-cells are commonly found in patients with SLE and reducing the number of B-cells in the system by BCDT has been suggested as a promising therapy for SLE patients who are unresponsive to other treatments.

In this study, initiated in 2000, patients with refractory SLE were treated with BCDT (based on rituximab) using a combination protocol with cyclophosphamide and steroids. Of the 33 patients who had a minimum of 6 months follow-up duration at the time of analysis (mean duration 37 months, range 6-79), 12 patients remained well. Median duration of B-cell depletion was 4 months (range 2-15), with 2 patients remaining depleted at time of analysis (73 and 8 months respectively). B-cell depletion was beneficial clinically, with a decrease of median global BILAG scores (clinical activity index – see Editors note) from 13 to 5 when measured between 5 and 8 months pGlobal Health Vision

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June 14, 2007 Posted by | Barcelona, European League Against Rheumatism, Global, Global Health Vision, Global News, Lupus, News, News Australia, News Canada, News Israel, News Jerusalem, News UK, News US, SLE, Spain, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Virginia, Washington DC, World News | Leave a comment

Aggressive nature of hand osteoarthritis

Contact: Rory Berrie
eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
44-790-069-8946
European League Against Rheumatism

Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 14 June 2007: In just two years, patients with hand osteoarthritis (OA) experienced a significant increase in pain and functional limitations, according to new data presented today at EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Barcelona, Spain. Statistically significant radiological progression was also detected in 20% of subjects.

OA is the most common form of arthritis. It generally affects older people, especially women and can occur in multiple areas of the hand and wrist, causing pain and stiffness and affecting everyday activities requiring fine motor control and hand grip e.g. writing. Over time, if left untreated, the bones that make up the joint can lose their normal shape, causing further pain and limited motion. However, knowledge about the progression of hand OA and effective therapies to prevent its progression has been lacking.

Led by Dr Stella Botha-Scheepers of Leiden University, The Netherlands, this study followed 172 patients (mean age 60.5 years, 78.5% women) with hand OA (defined by the American College of Rheumatology criteria) for two years, assessing: pain intensity upon lateral pressure in the DIP, IP, PIP and CMC 1 joints on a four-point scale; self-reported hand pain and functional limitations with subscales of the Australian/Canadian Osteoarthritis Hand Index (AUSCAN LK 3.0); and osteophytes and joint space narrowing in the right and left DIP joints, IP joints of the thumbs, PIP joints and CMC 1 joints through standardized radiographs.

Despite a relatively short follow-up period of two years, statistically significant increases in pain intensity on lateral pressure standard response mean (SRM) 0.67), AUSCAN pain scores (SRM 0.25) and AUSCAN function scores (SRM 0.23) occurred. Statistically significant radiological progression was also seen in 20% of patients, in terms of joint space narrowing (SRM 0.34) and osteophytes (SRM 0.35), with progression of osteophytes occurring more often in women and middle-aged patients, and especially in women in an early post-menopausal stage.

Dr Botha-Scheepers commented: “The findings of this study underline the critical need for early, effective intervention in hand OA to prevent irreversible progression, given the dramatic deterioration of clinical and radiological disease status seen in just two years.”

Hand OA tends to appear in a predictable pattern, most commonly affecting the small joints of the fingers and the joint at the base of the thumb. It can be diagnosed by medical examination and X-rays of the hand. Treatment options for arthritis of the hand and wrist include oral medication, injections, splinting and surgery.

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For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress press office on:
Email: eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
Rory Berrie: Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7900 698 946
Camilla Dormer: Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7725 328 983

Abstract number: OPO029

About EULAR

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is the organization which represents the patient, health professional and scientific societies of rheumatology of all the European nations.

The aims of EULAR are to reduce the burden of rheumatic diseases on the individual and society and to improve the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal diseases. To this end, EULAR fosters excellence in education and research in the field of rheumatology. It promotes the translation of research advances into daily care and fights for the recognition of the needs of people with musculoskeletal diseases by the governing bodies in Europe.

Diseases of bones and joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis cause disability in 4 – 5 % of the adult population and are predicted to rise as people live longer.

As new treatments emerge and cellular mechanisms are discovered, the 8th Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Barcelona (EULAR 2007) brings together more than 10,000 experts – scientists, clinicians, healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies and patients – to share their knowledge in a global endeavour to challenge the pain and disability caused by musculo-skeletal disorders.

To find out more information about the activities of EULAR, visit: http://www.eular.org

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June 14, 2007 Posted by | Alberta, Arthritis, Baltimore, Barcelona, Calgary, European League Against Rheumatism, Global, Global Health Vision, Global News, News, News Australia, News Canada, News Israel, News Jerusalem, News UK, News US, Osteoarthritis, Spain, Virginia, Washington DC, World News | Leave a comment