13:19 PM

HSS Researchers Enable Study Identifying Subtypes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Revolutionary Findings Unlock New Era of Precision Medicine in RA Patient Care

New York, New York  – A new study published in Nature, conducted by the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP), reports on the identification of new subtypes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by analyzing molecular patterns in biopsies from patient joints. These distinctions may improve the efficacy of treatment by allowing doctors to personalize recommendations depending on the subtype of RA a patient has.

Approximately 1.3 million individuals in the U.S. live with rheumatoid arthritis and 18 million worldwide. Considered a systemic autoimmune inflammatory disease, RA primarily affects the joints, causing pain, stiffness and swelling. While treatment strategies have improved in recent years, a process of trial and error is often required to alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of disease. It remains common for patients to switch medications several times over the course of months to years, with some not finding an effective therapy.

The new study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and pharmaceutical industry partners, suggests that RA can be characterized into at least four distinct subtypes. Notably, the underlying biology of each corresponds to a different drug target. By comparing the targets in a patient’s joint with the medications to which they respond, doctors may begin to tailor treatments, potentially leading to more rapidly effective treatment outcomes.

"We believe this work lays the foundation for a new era in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis,” said Laura Donlin, PhD, Co-Senior author and Co-Director of the Derfner Foundation Precision Medicine Laboratory at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). “While we have numerous medications available, the chance we'll choose the right one the first time is fairly low, around 40%. It's critical that we get patients the best medication possible as quickly as possible to slow the progression of disease. By understanding the unique features of a patient's condition, we can make more informed decisions and, hopefully, produce more successful  outcomes for patients.”

Dr. Donlin and her team at HSS are hopeful these results will lead to new standards of personalized care for RA.

Their research was made possible by generous support from The Ambrose Monell Foundation, The Carson Family Charitable Trust, and The Tow Foundation.

About HSS Research Enterprise

HSS Research Enterprise stands as the largest musculoskeletal research facility globally. With over 300 dedicated researchers and 20 state-of-the-art laboratories, HSS Research Institute leads in research aimed at enhancing the lives of patients afflicted by debilitating orthopedic and rheumatic conditions, including arthritis, bone and soft tissue injuries, autoimmune diseases, and musculoskeletal pain.

About HSS

HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the 14th consecutive year), No. 2 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2023-2024), and the best pediatric orthopedic hospital in NY, NJ and CT by U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” list (2023-2024). In a survey of medical professionals in more than 20 countries by Newsweek, HSS is ranked world #1 in orthopedics for a fourth consecutive year (2023). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has the lowest readmission rates in the nation for orthopedics, and among the lowest infection and complication rates. HSS was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center five consecutive times. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State, as well as in Florida. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. In addition, more than 200 HSS clinical investigators are working to improve patient outcomes through better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat orthopedic, rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. The HSS Innovation Institute works to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The HSS Education Institute is a trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal knowledge and research for physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, academic trainees, and consumers in more than 165 countries. The institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally. www.hss.edu.