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Actemra (tocilizumab) Significantly Improves Symptoms of Rheumatoid,Arthritis Compared to a Current Standard of Care

to treat moderate to severe RA patients, and these results suggest that IL-6 inhibition is an encouraging anti-inflammatory mechanism for reducing disease symptoms," said Mark C. Genovese, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

ACTEMRA(TM) is the first humanized interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor- inhibiting monoclonal antibody and represents a novel mechanism of action for the treatment for RA. Studies suggest that reducing the activity of IL-6, one of several key cytokines involved in the inflammatory process, may reduce inflammation of the joints, prevent long-term damage and relieve certain systemic effects of RA such as decreased hemoglobin, fatigue and osteoporosis.

"These study results underscore the potential for ACTEMRA(TM) to become a new treatment option for RA," said Lars Birgerson, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President, Global Head Medical Affairs, Roche. "We are hopeful that the ongoing Phase III trials will translate into improved clinical outcomes for patients."

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive, systemic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the membrane lining in joints. This inflammation causes a loss of joint shape and function, resulting in pain, stiffness and swelling, ultimately leading to irreversible joint destruction and disability. RA affects more than 21 million people worldwide with approximately 2.5 million people affected in the United States. RA may also shorten life expectancy by affecting major organ systems and after 10 years, less than 50% of patients can continue to work or function normally on a day- to-day basis.

About the Study

The OPTION trial is a three-arm, randomized, double-blind, controlled Phase III study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ACTEMRA(TM) plus methotrexate compared to placebo plus methotrexate in patients with moderate to severe RA who had an inadequate response to methotrexate alon
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