New research holds the hope of ending the misery of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for many thousands of sufferers, scientists have said.
Scientists have discovered a “three-month window” after the onset of symptoms that offers the prospect of halting or even curing the crippling disease.
The new approach should also prevent premature deaths. Typically, a patient with progressive RA dies 10 years earlier than someone who is free of the disease.
Dr Karim Raza, from the University of Birmingham, said trial data suggests there is a three-month window after the start of symptoms where molecules are different from the later stages.
“The data suggests that if you intervene within those three months you can very rapidly slow progression of the disease.
“There is also a suggestion that if you intervene aggressively you might, in a small proportion of people, actually switch it off.”