New Method Towards Studying Rheumatoid Arthritis

Researchers study excess fluid from swollen joints of rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers study excess fluid from swollen joints of rheumatoid arthritis.

Using the excess fluid from swollen joints of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients may provide better management for the disease.

A research team of scientists from Keele University’s Research Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, the Haywood Rheumatology Centre, and the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, identified key DNA differences in patients with RA than patients with other types of arthritis.

Patients with RA have painful, swollen joints as a result of built-up fluids in their joints. To relieve pain, this fluid is removed. This team of scientists however, found that using the fluid provides a source of diseased cells to study, without damaging the diseased joint itself.

The researchers used these cells to genome profile more than 20,000 genes from RA patients, and found the benefits of studying joint fluid. By using the fluid, scientists can better understand the disease, and its differentiation from other types of arthritis, to provide the best treatment possible.

"We are the first to publish these types of findings and, importantly it offers the opportunity to not only monitor the progress of the disease but also to determine if particular drugs/treatment are having an effect," said study lead Professor William Farrell.

This study was published in the journal Epigenomics, 2015.