Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of chronic inflammatory rheumatism. It is a common disease affecting approximately 1% of the worldwide population (5.5 Million persons in EU and US). It is a heterogeneous disease of unknown etiology which progresses in a variable manner from one patient to another. Consequences of the disease are sometimes severe: functional impotence, radiological progression, deformation leading to joint replacement surgery, premature death and alteration of the quality of life. Approximately 10 to 15% of RA cases progress in a highly destructive form in one or two years.
A number of studies have shown that early management of RA would increase the chances of slowing down or even preventing progression of the disease through treatment. By administrating effective treatment as of the first signs of disease severity, the risk of damage to joints and consequences in the mid-term can be limited.
In 2000, the arrival of biotherapies (and in particular anti-TNFa) revolutionized the management of severe forms of the disease. However, patient response rates to these treatments vary according to the individual and from one molecule to another.
To date, clinicians are unable to predict the true efficacy of any one of these treatments for a patient prior to administration. Furthermore, these treatments are costly and their side effects potentially serious. It would therefore be ideal to be able to determine, for a given patient, whether biotherapy is able to induce a good response or not before its administration. For this purpose, we are developing the RA-INF-Dx a non invasive multigene diagnostic blood test intended to aid in the identification of RA patients for whom the combination Infliximab and MTX is being considered.