Relief in the joints

Published: Thursday 15 January 1998

Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have shown a positive response to some experimental drugs. They experienced decrease in the pain and swelling in joints after taking these genetically engineered drugs. The drugs inhibit the action of a substance called tumour necrosis factor (TNF) that is responsible for the severe pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis. Michael Winblatt of Brigham and Woman's Hospital, Boston, USA, studied 234 patients with active, long-standing rheumatoid arthritis. Some patients who were given 25 mg injections of Enbrel experienced 71 per cent relief in painful joints. Enbrel has been developed by Immunex Corp, Seatle, USA. Another drug, Avakine, developed by Centocor Inc, Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA, has shown similar results.

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