Gene regulating severity of tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis discovered by scientists

**** NO REPRODUCTION FEEE **** DUBLIN : 10/10/2013 : Arthritis Ireland. Pictured was XXX. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

Professor Gerry Wilson and his team have identified a new protein (C5orf30) which regulates the severity of tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, pain, stiffness and damage to the joints of the feet, hips, knees, and hands.

Following the discovery published in the scientific journal PNAS (27 August), rheumatoid arthritis patients most likely to suffer the severest effects of the condition can now be identified early and fast-tracked to the more aggressive treatments available.

Although there is no cure for RA, new effective drugs are increasingly available to treat the disease and prevent deformed joints. Self-management of the condition by patients, including exercise, is also known to reduce pain and resulting disability.

To conduct the research, the international team of scientists from University College Dublin and the University of Sheffield, funded by Arthritis Ireland and the University of Sheffield, analysed DNA samples and biopsy samples from joints of over 1,000 Rheumatoid arthritis patients in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Our findings provide a genetic marker that could be used to identify those RA patients who require more aggressive treatments or personalised medicine,” said Professor Gerry Wilson from the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, who led the research.

“They also point to the possibility that increasing the levels of C5orf30 in the joints might be a novel method of reducing tissue damage caused by RA”.

Dr Munitta Muthana from the Medical School at the University of Sheffield, who co-authored the study said: “These exciting findings will prompt us to further explore the role of this highly conserved protein that we know so little about, and its significance in human health and disease”.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory of the types of arthritis affecting around 1% of the population. It is estimated that 30% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are unable to work within 10 years of onset of the condition. It affects more women than men, and often more severely. It is also most common between the ages of 40 and 70, but it can affect people of any age including children.

One of the biggest difficulties with treating the condition is early diagnosis. With early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, it is possible to reduce the damage to the joints caused by RA. Deciding the most appropriate treatment for each patient at the earliest possible stage is central to effectively tackling the condition.

“Investing in research to find new treatments and ultimately a cure for arthritis is one of our key objectives at Arthritis Ireland,” said John Church, CEO, Arthritis Ireland.

“Treatments for arthritis have improved enormously over the last number of years. Thirty years ago, rheumatologists’ waiting rooms were filled with people in wheelchairs. Today, that is no longer the case. The outlook for a person diagnosed with arthritis in 2015 is much brighter than it used to be. We are getting closer and closer to personalised medicine. This discovery is further proof that we are in the right space and investing our money wisely,” he added.

Arthritis Ireland & Team RAD join together in the fight against arthritis.

Arthritis Ireland are delighted to announce a new partnership with Team RAD, (Racing with Autoimmune Disease) for the coming year.

Kenny Bucke, Team RAD will take part in this years Working on a Cure Cycle on June 7th for Arthritis Ireland.

Kenny Bucke, Team RAD will take part in this years Working on a Cure Cycle on June 7th for Arthritis Ireland.

A cycling club for people with arthritis and other autoimmune conditions, Team RAD was established in autumn of 2014.

John Church, CEO of Arthritis Ireland said;

We are delighted to be supporting Team RAD. This partnership will help promote a positive message around Arthritis and that it can be managed effectively. We are firm advocates that regular exercise is a key part in managing a disease such as arthritis and that cycling, as a low impact sport, is a perfect fit.

As well as this members of Team RAD will be taking part in the Arthritis Ireland Working on a Cure Cycle in Wicklow on June 7th and will be raising funds to funds research into new treatments, and ultimately a cure for arthritis.

Team RAD was set up by Kenny Bucke, who first experienced symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) when he was 35.

“I want to show that you can still compete if you have an autoimmune condition. Training with a club like this means you’ll be with other people who understand your symptoms so we may have different ways of doing things.

I think that if you are into sports, you will find a way to do it. Even with arthritis. I hope that people will also look at our club and think that if we can cycle 100km with arthritis, then maybe they’ll think they can get out for a walk or go for a swim. It might motivate more people to get moving.”

 Over the course of the coming year, Arthritis Ireland and Team RAD will work together to increase awareness of Arthritis as a disease that affects younger people. They will also work together to promote cycling as a key part of managing their disease while looking to establish cycling groups, similar to the Arthritis Ireland walking groups.

As part of the partnership, the Arthritis Ireland logo will appear on Team RAD’s club kit which will further raise awareness at cycling events nationally of the partnership.

If you would like to take part in Arthritis Ireland’s Working on a Cure Cycle this June 7th, visit www.arthritisireland.ie  To find out more about Team RAD, visit www.racingwithautoimmunedisease.org

Almost Two Thirds of Discretionary Medical Cards for People with Arthritis Taken Away or Under Review

Arthritis Ireland Calls on Government to Make Good on Pre-Election Promises to Resolve Issue

Arthritis Ireland is today expressing its deep concern at the number of people with people with arthritisarthritis who have lost their discretionary medical cards in recent months. In a new survey, conducted by the charity, 60% of people with arthritis who have or had discretionary medical cards admitted they had been taken away or placed under review.

The charity is now calling on the Government to make good on their pre-election promises and take action to resolve this ongoing scandal. It is also urging the HSE to ensure arthritis patients on expensive treatments, such as high-tech biologic therapies, are given medicals cards straight away.

In a survey, conducted over the weekend, of 1,200 people with arthritis:

  • A quarter (23%) said they have/had a discretionary medical card
  • Almost two thirds (60%) of those admitted it had been either taken away or put under review
  • Of these, 69% have had their card taken away or placed under review in the last 6 months
  • It is an issue of even greater concern for children living with juvenile arthritis as 76% of parents said their discretionary cards had been taken away or placed under review

This is resulting in added financial pressure and distress on a group of people who are already living day-to-day in severe pain. Below is just a selection of people’s responses when asked, “What does having the medical card taken away mean for you?”

“Have not been able to afford medication and have not had my Enbrel (medication) since February.”

“I am very upset and it is causing me a lot of stress and I will not be able to afford to pay for meds and pay for doctor and I am going into hospital for another knee replacement on 18th of June and am so worried about the operation .I should not have this stress as well.”

“It’s been 3 months now and I’ve called every 2 weeks and still no decision. Without my medical card, I won’t be able to afford the monthly infusions or daily meds I need to function on a daily basis…I’m so worried as without my medical card I won’t get the treatment I need and will end up completely disabled.”

Arthritis is the single biggest cause of disability in Ireland, affecting almost one million people from newborn babies through to the elderly. There is no cure so regular medical treatment is vital to keep the condition in check to prevent permanent joint damage and disability.

Arthritis Ireland CEO, John Church, said: “Although the Government has stated that there is no policy to cut discretionary medical cards, the results of our survey suggest otherwise.

“People with arthritis already face significant challenges living day-to-day with the severe pain and fatigue of arthritis and it is inhumane to place them under further financial hardship and distress by taking away their medical cards.

“We are particularly concerned for families of children with juvenile arthritis as more than three quarters have had their cards placed under review or taken away. Parents are already facing totally unacceptable waiting list times of over 18 months to see a rheumatologist, despite the guidelines recommending a maximum of 4-6 weeks. 

“We are now calling on the HSE to ensure that all people with arthritis who require high cost treatments are given access to a medical card.” 

Arthritis Ireland has a full breakdown here of what people with arthritis need to do in the event of their medical card being taken away or placed under review. The charity’s National Helpline (1890 252 846) is also there to help people who are experiencing difficulties with their medical cards.

Sunshine Reduces Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis by a Fifth

Good news for sun worshipers! if you can find any sun to worship. A new study has found sunshine cuts rheumatoid arthritis riskthat spending time in the sunlight can reduce a woman’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Based on data from the Nurses’ Health Study, new research involving more than 200,000 women found that bathing in the sun can cut the risk of rheumatoid arthritis my more than 20%.

However, it is worth remembering that overexposure to UV rays do still damage the skin and trigger skin cancer.

Scientists took into account where the women lived to work out their likely sunlight intake, considering latitude, altitude and cloud cover.

A total of 1,314 women developed rheumatoid arthritis during the 30-year study period .But women with the highest levels of exposure to the sun were 21pc less likely to develop the disease.

It is worth noting that evidence of the reduced risk was only found in older women who enrolled at the beginning of the study in the 1970s. Researchers pointed out that this could be due to the fact that sun creams which block UV rays were not around when the women were in her youth.

“This adds to the growing evidence that exposure to UV-B light is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis,” Dr Elizabeth Arkema of Harvard School of Public Health wrote.

Click here to find out more about ‘Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis’ by downloading our information booklet.

Source: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/health/sunshine-may-reduce-risk-of-arthritis-in-women-16270187.html#ixzz2K2Pyr2CO