RA Innovation at ACR

RA Needs Innovation

Topics highlighted at the ACR Congress

The 2020 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual meeting kicks off this week, running from 5-9 November. This year’s event also coincides with the update of the ACR guidelines for the management of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  

RA needs innovation. The disorder often follows a painful, progressively debilitating course, depriving patients of the ability to continue their daily lives and leading to physical disability.[1] Despite current treatments, RA continues to pose a substantial burden to people living with the disease, comprised of the daily health issues directly related to their RA, such as pain, and the complications of managing comorbid conditions.[2], [3], [4]

The 2020 ACR Congress will showcase some of the latest global research and we’d like to highlight two topics related to RA that will be discussed during the meeting.

COVID-19 and other health issues that impact people with RA

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the healthcare system hard, impacting patients with inflammatory disease including disrupted patient care and concerns about medications and infection risk[5],[6]. Physicians and patients alike are scrambling to make sense of the abundance of ever-changing information surrounding the virus. As a result, this topic is of great interest at many of the leading rheumatology congresses this year, and likely will be for years to come.

To add to these complications, around 60% of patients with RA have three or more additional serious health conditions. This compares with 37% of matched individuals without RA.4 The impact of these additional health issues for people living with RA is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.[7] Pre-existing respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have all been shown to increase the likelihood of COVID-19-related hospitalisation for a patient living with RA.[8]

Outcomes important to people living with RA

Over the past decade there have been significant advances in the treatment of RA and management of disease activity and joint damage.[9] However, these changes have not always been in line with improvements in patient quality of life.[10], [11]In a recent literature review of the burden of illness and unmet needs in people with RA, patients self-reported the outcomes they felt important for their condition, recording fatigue, pain, and physical functioning as unmet priorities.2

At Galapagos we will be following the latest research at ACR and also hope to be part of the discussion to better understand the issues surrounding RA. We are committed to working in partnership with the RA community to support much needed innovation to address these challenges. Part of this commitment will be kicking off this year, as we work closely with people living with RA in Europe to understand what really matters to them, including outcomes and treatment preferences, so we can aim to support them in living their lives to the full.

Galapagos is committed to pioneering and delivering innovation for people living with RA. Together with our partner Gilead we have a shared vision of transforming the treatment of inflammatory disease. Gilead’s heritage of transformational medicine and Galapagos’ pioneering research capabilities in targeted therapies mean that together, we can move faster and do more for the people we serve.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid-arthritis.html Accessed October 2020.

[2] Taylor PC, Moore A, Vasilescu R, Alvir J, Tarallo M. A structured literature review of the burden of illness and unmet needs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a current perspective. Rheumatology International. 2016;36(5):685-95.

[3] Radner H, et al. Rheumatology [Internet]. 2010.]; 50(2):381-388  

[4] An J, et al. Clin Rheumatol. 2019; 38(10):2717-2726.

[5] Schett G, et al. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2020;16(8):465-470

[6] Minniti A, et al. Clin Rheumatol. 2020;39(7):2063-2065

[7] Roongta R and Ghosh A. Clin Rheumatol. 2020:1-8.

[8] Gianfrancesco M, et al. Ann Rheum Dis. 2020;79(7):859-866.

[9] Fautrel B, et al. Rheumatology Int. 2018;38:935-947

[10] Matcham F, et al. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2014;44(2):123-130

[11] Nieuwenhuis WP, et al. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016;75(11):2054-2056