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This article is part of the supplement: The evolution of anti-TNF therapy in rheumatic disease: experience, insights and advances

Highly Accessed Review

Advances in rheumatology: new targeted therapeutics

Paul P Tak1* and Joachim R Kalden2

  • * Corresponding author: Paul P Tak

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology F4-105, Academic Medical Center/University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Internal Medicine III (Rheumatology and Immunology), Department for Molecular Immunology, Glueckstrasse 6, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13(Suppl 1):S5  doi:10.1186/1478-6354-13-S1-S5

Published: 25 May 2011

Abstract

Treatment of inflammatory arthritides - including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis - has seen much progress in recent years, partially due to increased understanding of the pathogenesis of these diseases at the cellular and molecular levels. These conditions share some common mechanisms. Biologic therapies have provided a clear advance in the treatment of rheumatological conditions. Currently available TNF-targeting biologic agents that are licensed for at east one of the above-named diseases are etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab, and certolizumab. Biologic agents with a different mechanism of action have also been approved in rheumatoid arthritis (rituximab, abatacept, and tocilizumab). Although these biologic agents are highly effective, there is a need for improved management strategies. There is also a need for education of family physicians and other healthcare professionals in the identification of early symptoms of inflammatory arthritides and the importance of early referral to rheumatologists for diagnosis and treatment. Also, researchers are developing molecules - for example, the Janus kinase inhibitor CP-690550 (tofacitinib) and the spleen tyrosine kinase inhibitor R788 (fostamatinib) - to target other aspects of the inflammatory cascade. Initial trial results with new agents are promising, and, in time, head-to-head trials will establish the best treatment options for patients. The key challenge is identifying how best to integrate these new, advanced therapies into daily practice.