I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my late teens and fortunately, since then, my condition has been generally managed with medication. I regularly read articles about new treatments - how effective are they and are we any nearer to finding a cure?
Dr Colin Pease, Consultant Rheumatologist:
I am glad to hear that currently your rheumatoid arthritis is controlled with medication. In Rheumatology we try hard to achieve 'disease remission'.
By this term we mean that a person with rheumatoid arthritis has no discernable disease activity. This is achieved by taking medication and sometimes patients will be able to stop therapy and still remain in “remission”. If you have reached this state then the new 'biological therapies' are not indicated. However for people who have active rheumatoid arthritis despite 'standard treatment' the new biologic therapies do offer a tremendous opportunity for improvement of their disease.
Unfortunately they are 'not the cure'. Research has progressed tremendously in the last 10 years and we now have a far greater understanding of the disease than ever before. The Rheumatology department at Chapel Allerton in Leeds has been at the fore-front of this research. Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease which is heavily influenced by your own genes thus it is unlikely that any one drug will work for all. Rheumatoid arthritis remains a challenge.