For the 4th year in a row, my blog Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis was named by Healthline as one of the Best RA blogs for 2015. This is quite an honor to be listed amongst the other wonderful bloggers who tirelessly serve as patient advocates for this terrible autoimmune disease. Please take a moment to check out all of the blogs.
I am very honored to be named as a Cure Arthritis Ambassador for the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF). The ANRF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. They have been active for 40 years and have the highest possible rating by Charity Navigator.
As an Ambassador, I pledge to the following:
- – A commitment to arthritis research
- – A platform to share your efforts
- – The ability to demonstrate your involvement (Blog, Video, Speaking, etc.)
- – A personal connection to arthritis
- – To share in ANRF’s mission
- – Communication to ANRF about your activities in the fight to Cure Arthritis
Please consider donating and getting involved with this wonderful organization! Plus, they have really cool t-shirts and wristbands.
My Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis blog was featured by the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF). The article also includes my story of fighting the disease. Click for the story.
In an earlier post, I documented some of the new biologic medicines for RA in the development pipeline. There continues to be a constant stream of biologic drugs in research and development. But in the past few years, a new line of research led to the investigation of a set of molecules called kinases that are involved in the complex biological processes of RA. The development of kinase inhibitors is based on the theory that inhibition can slow down the production of inflammatory cytokines thereby controlling the disease processes. These processes are linked to the so-called JAK-STAT pathway that is being studied in numerous diseases.
Currently, there is only one kinase inhibitor approved for RA in the United States. Xeljanz, or tofacitinib, was developed and is marketed by Pfizer. The European Medicines Agency did not approve Xeljanz because of lack of efficacy and safety. Some European and Arab countries including Russia approved it.
Below is a list of some of the Kinase inhibitors currently in the development and trial pipeline. There are many others that died in the development pipeline.
CC-292 by Cellgene. In Phase II clinical trials.
PLX5622 by Plexxikon. In Phase I clinical trials.
AB494 by Abbvie. In Phase II clinical trials.
HM71224 by Hanmi. In Phase I clinical trials.
It remains to be seen whether or not JAK-STAT inhibitors will become a fruitful treatment option for those with rheumatoid arthritis.
On March 6, 2015 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first biosimilar drug for use by patients in the United States (see FDA press release). The drug called Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz) is produced by Sandoz and is similar to Amgen’s Neupogen (filgrastim). Both are approved to treat certain kinds of cancers and bone marrow transplants.
Biologic medicines come from living organisms. They are different from chemical medicines in that they contain large and delicate biological molecules such as proteins, must be injected or infused since stomach acids would damage the molecules, and are usually much more expensive than chemical medicines due to development and complicated production costs. Given the high development costs associated with biologics, they are given an extended patent length of 12 years in the United States. When a chemical drug looses its patent protection, companies produce generics that are exact chemical matches. Generics are widely used and are much cheaper than the original drug. Given the complexity of biologics, exact chemical matches are replaced with scientific equivalency meaning that the biologic is similar in action but not exactly the same – thus the name “biosimilar” being used for these drugs (Entine, 2012).1
Some of the most popular RA biologic medicines stand to loose patent protection in the United States in next few years.
Read the rest of the article at http://rheumatoidarthritis.net/news/fda-approves-first-biosimilar-drug-whats-next-for-ra/.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease meaning that the immune system attacks itself. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), upwards of 50 million Americans suffer from over 80 identified autoimmune diseases. Some of the most common autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and type 1 diabetes. Autoimmune diseases tend to run in families. Immunosuppresant drugs are the current treatments of choice for these diseases and they come with some serious potential side effects. Much more research is needed in order to fully understand these devastating diseases and to develop better treatments and cures. Unfortunately, autoimmune diseases get a smaller proportion of research dollars compared to cancer and heart disease.