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A recent experiment brings potential relief to many as it suggests that a vaccine may be able to prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
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A recent experiment brings potential relief to many as it suggests that a vaccine may be able to prevent rheumatoid arthritis.

Experts have found a potential solution to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the form of a new vaccination. This breakthrough could bring hope to the large population vulnerable to developing the condition.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a persistent illness that results in body inflammation and joint pain. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 18 million individuals worldwide suffer from this condition, which can also result in complications with the heart, lungs, or nervous system.

The condition often starts during middle age, although it can also impact younger individuals. There is currently no known treatment to prevent the illness.

Scientists have recently discovered that a current medication for RA, which can be self-administered through injection in the stomach or thigh, may be effective in delaying the progression of the disease in individuals experiencing early symptoms or even halting its advancement completely.

A study in the Lancet concluded that abatacept is successful in preventing the development of RA. The researchers described the findings as promising and potentially beneficial for individuals at risk of arthritis.

Researchers from King’s College London studied the potential of abatacept to serve as a preventive measure for individuals at risk of developing RA, in addition to its current use as a treatment for those who already have the condition.

The medication, which can be given through an IV in a hospital or through weekly injections at home, functions by specifically addressing the source of inflammation.

Researchers evaluated 213 patients from 28 early arthritis clinics in the UK and the Netherlands who were deemed to be at risk for developing RA.

Out of the overall number, 110 individuals received abatacept while the rest were placed in a placebo group. The calculated percentage of patients who remained free of arthritis after 12 months was 92.8% in the abatacept group and 69.2% in the placebo group.

After a span of two years, it was observed that 27 out of 100 (25%) participants in the abatacept group had advanced to RA, while 38 out of 100 (37%) in the placebo group had also progressed to RA.

Dr. Andrew Cope, from King’s College London, stated that this study is the most extensive one yet for preventing rheumatoid arthritis and the first to prove that a licensed treatment for established rheumatoid arthritis can also prevent the development of the disease in at-risk individuals.

“These preliminary findings could be promising for individuals who are at risk of developing arthritis. The study demonstrates that the medication not only delays the onset of the disease during treatment, but also alleviates symptoms like pain and fatigue.”

He stated, “At the moment, there are no medications that can stop this potentially debilitating illness. Our next course of action is to gain a better understanding of individuals who are at risk, in order to ensure that those with the greatest likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis are given the appropriate medication.”

The experiment also demonstrated additional effects of administering abatacept, including decreased pain ratings and improved quality of life assessments for participants.

Philip Day, a 35-year-old resident of Eltham, located in south-east London, was included in the 2018 study and given a prescription for abatacept. He had been unable to participate in his beloved sport of football due to joint pain.

Day referred to the trial as a glimmer of hope during a difficult period. He went on to say that within a few months, he no longer experienced any discomfort and after five years, he considers himself cured. He is now able to play football with his three-year-old son and lead a regular life.

Lucy Donaldson, a professor at the organization Versus Arthritis, expressed her approval of the results. She stated, “This study emphasizes the significance of detecting the initial indicators of arthritis in order to potentially prevent its progression, providing hope to countless individuals who have or are at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.”

Source: theguardian.com