Spondylitis Association of America and Global Disease Experts Discuss Promising Data for Potential New Treatments for People with Spondyloarthropathies
VAN NUYS, Calif., Nov. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) and leading disease experts from around the world met during the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago, IL to discuss the latest data and treatment breakthroughs around spondyloarthropathies. ACR is one of the premier congresses highlighting innovative research in the treatment of people with these debilitating diseases, with more than numerous sessions and abstracts on ankylosing spondylitis presented during the meeting.
“I am encouraged to see the latest data in progress being made to treat spondyloarthropathies including ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis,” said Laurie M. Savage, Executive Director, Spondylitis Association of America. “The development of potential new therapies, including novel, oral small molecules, gives hope for more treatment options for people with these diseases.”
There is currently no cure for ankylosing spondylitis. Current medical treatments for spondyloarthropathy are all aimed at reducing overall inflammation, and include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including both traditional medications and newer biologics.
Psoriatic arthritis is also a spondyloarthropathy and is associated with the skin condition psoriasis, which is caused by immune system problems that result in increased cell growth. In the United States, approximately three percent of the population, or more than five million adults, have psoriasis. For people with psoriatic arthritis, quality of life is impacted by both the physical symptoms of the disease and the emotional burden of disfiguring skin symptoms.
Continued research has pointed the way to new methods of fine-tuning the immune response and controlling inflammation that may someday offer better relief with fewer side effects. One study seen at ACR was of an investigational treatment that may be the first small molecule to show an effect in both psoriatic arthritis as well as the axial and peripheral components of ankylosing spondylitis.
“Exciting advancements in research are going on in spondyloarthropathies. Apremilast – is a novel oral therapy that could potentially offer a new disease-modifying treatment option for people who are affected by this debilitating condition,” said Dr. Peter Taylor, Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist and Head of Clinical Trials, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford, UK. “I am delighted to be working with the Spondylitis Association of America in order to educate people about this disease and show them the hope that potential new treatments may provide.”
Spondyloarthropathies (sometimes called spondyloarthritis) are a group of interrelated chronic diseases that cause inflammation in the spine (spondylo) and other joints, as well as at the points where ligaments and tendons attach to the bone. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a crippling form of arthritis falling under this category that generally strikes young people in their teens and twenties, sometimes even earlier. Left untreated, it causes pain, disability and can eventually cause the spinal vertebrae to fuse together forming one brittle bone, often in a stooped over position. The most common symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis are pain and stiffness.
Video footage from an educational workshop conducted by the Spondylitis Association of America is available on request.
About Ankylosing Spondylitis
Spondylitis is the term used to refer to a group of chronic, inflammatory diseases that generally strike young people between the ages of 15 and 35. Typically, spondylitis causes pain and stiffness and, in the most severe cases, can result in a total fusion of the spine and/or neck, leading to disability. Although spondylitis primarily affects the spine, it is not uncommon for the disease to impact the joints of the shoulders, hips, knees and feet, as well as cause inflammation of the eye. More rarely, because AS is a systemic (whole body) condition, other organs such as the heart and lungs can also become involved.
About the Spondylitis Association of America
The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) is the only nonprofit organization in the US dedicating all of its resources to improving the lives of people with ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases. Established in 1983, SAA is committed to increasing awareness of spondylitis, providing information and support to patients and their families, and ultimately, working to uncover a cure for the disease.
SAA produces the most comprehensive library of spondylitis resources available in the US — including books, DVDs, CDs, brochures and other publications; a 1,700-page interactive website, www.spondylitis.org; a quarterly, advertising-free news magazine, and a network of nationwide Educational Support Groups to educate and support people living with this chronic illness.
At the forefront of every major milestone achieved in spondylitis education, research and advocacy in the last 25 years, you will find the Spondylitis Association of America.
SOURCE Spondylitis Association of America