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New way of classifying rheumatoid arthritis aimed at identifying the disease earlier
Date:8/10/2010

red. This truly limited RA researchers from studying the disease at its earlier phases, which is critical to the development of new treatments to prevent damage."

In 2008, the ACR began a collaborative project with the EULAR to create the first new set of RA classification criteria in over 20 years. To establish the new criteria, researchers completed three phases of work. The first phase (led by EULAR) involved reviewing existing data collected from patients with early arthritis to determine which factors best identified patients who were, according to Daniel Aletaha, MD, MS; lead author of this phase of research, "at a high risk of developing the more persistent and erosive arthritis that we currently consider to be RA." Dr. Aletaha also explains that this phase of research is an important component to the overall project as "all classification criteria need to be built on scientific evidence, either from the literature oras with these criteriafrom extensive analysis of real patient data."

The second phase of work (led by the ACR) was aimed at reaching consensus among practicing rheumatologists on which factors were most important in determining a person's likelihood of developing the chronic joint damage that has been known for many years as the hallmark of RA. "Both scientific evidence and the experience of RA experts needed to be considered in the development of the new criteria to ensure all important factors were identified," explains criteria author Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD. "Additionally, ensuring the new criteria reflects the opinions of front-line rheumatologists diagnosing and treating patients in clinical practice is key to their ultimate acceptance."

In phase three, researchers integrated the findings from the first two phases of work, refined a scoring system, and determined the optimal cut off point to define the disease. Patients to whom these criteria should be applied must have confirmed presence of joint swelling, indicati
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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