Hand deformity typical of rtheumatoid arthiritis
Novel Biological Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis Looks Promising
Ruwaida Dhala, BSc, MSc
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common autoimmune disease worldwide. RA primarily affects joints of the extremities, particularly the fingers. The disease is characterized by chronic inflammation of the synovial joints resulting in joint destruction and deformity. RA occurs both in children and adults. The peak incidence of RA is between the ages of 30 and 50 and occurs more frequently in women than in men.1 The clinical manifestations of the disease include peri-articular soft tissue swelling, joint pain and joint stiffness. Like most autoimmune diseases, there is a genetic susceptibility to RA (see related article on Unravelling the Genetic Mystery of Arthritis). T cells appear to be important in disease initiation whereas monocytes are implicated in disease progression.