Rheumatoid Arthritis Impacts Millions of Americans but Remains Severely Underfunded

American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation Launches

'Within Our Reach' Campaign to Raise Funds to Search for a Cure for

Rheumatoid Arthritis



Jul 13, 2007, 01:00 ET from American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation

    ATLANTA, July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects 2.1
 million Americans and despite many advances in the understanding of the
 disease, funds for research remain limited and both the cause and a cure
 are still unknown. The American College of Rheumatology Research and
 Education Foundation (ACR REF) is working to accelerate RA research and
 expand financial support of this disease by launching the Within Our Reach:
 Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis campaign. The new program is
 designed to raise unprecedented funds to search for a cure.
     RA is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis and costs society
 more than $80 billion each year. The disease affects more than one in every
 200 Americans. However, research funding for RA averages as little as
 $25.90 per patient and remains significantly low compared to other chronic
 diseases that affect far fewer people like lupus, diabetes and multiple
 sclerosis, which average $330.00 per patient. Despite the lack of funding,
 research has led to more effective and aggressive, treatments as well as a
 better understanding of how to manage the disease.
     "Therapy for patients with RA has improved dramatically, and we also
 have learned that early diagnosis is essential," said Dr. James R. O'Dell,
 president of the REF. "While there is no cure, patients who receive
 treatment early feel better and are more likely to lead an active life.
 Painful symptoms including inflammation and joint damage can be minimized
 with early treatment and further research will continue to better patients'
 lives and get us closer to a cure."
     Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms and Diagnosis
     RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease that develops because certain cells
 of the immune system malfunction and attack healthy joints. It is far more
 common in women than many expect. Approximately 1 to 3 percent of women may
 develop RA in their lifetime, which is three times more common in women as
 in men. While symptoms most often begin between the fourth and sixth
 decades of life, RA can develop at any age.
     Pain, stiffness, swelling, and limitation in the motion and function of
 multiple joints are the most common symptoms. Though joints are the
 principal body parts affected by RA, inflammation can develop in other
 organs as well. Additional warning signs also include:
     -- Loss of energy
     -- Low-grade fevers
     -- Loss of appetite
     -- Dry eyes and mouth from an associated condition known as Sjogren's
        syndrome
     -- Firm lumps called rheumatoid nodules beneath the skin in areas such as
        the elbow and hands
     RA can be difficult to diagnose because it may begin gradually and many
 diseases behave in a manner similar to RA. Patients suspected of having RA
 should be evaluated by a rheumatologist, a physician with the necessary
 skill and experience to reach a precise diagnosis and develop the most
 appropriate treatment plan.
     Patients can visit www.rheumatology.org/directory to find a
 rheumatologist in their area.
     About Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis
 Campaign
     Within Our Reach is a national, multi-year fundraising campaign with a
 goal to raise $30 million towards accelerating innovative research focused
 specifically on rheumatoid arthritis. It is the largest private fundraising
 campaign in the REF's history, which will tap a diverse donor base,
 supporting innovative research to learn more about the causes of RA and,
 ultimately, to find a cure. Since November, the campaign has received
 tremendous support from the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies,
 physicians and patients.
     "Today, more funding needs to be directed towards the kind of RA
 research that goes beyond treatment only - the kind of RA research that
 seeks to find a cure through better understanding of the causes of and
 preventions for this devastating disease," added Dr. O'Dell. "With the
 guidance of ACR Research and Education Foundation, Within Our Reach will
 allow more of this type of research to be conducted and together we can
 work to find a cure."
     To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and Within Our Reach, please
 visit www.WithinOurReach.info.
     About the ACR Research and Education Foundation
     The ACR Research and Education Foundation was established in 1985 as a
 501(c)(3) with a mission to improve patients' lives through support of
 research and training that advances the prevention, treatment and cure of
 rheumatic diseases. Since its founding, the REF has promoted and advanced
 the field of rheumatology by funding research, training and education
 opportunities for clinicians, students, health professionals, researchers
 and academic institutions. On average, 90 cents of every dollar donated to
 the REF is used to fund its extensive award and grant program.
     Contact: Lucy McDonald
                 Brand Resources Group, Inc.
                 703-739-8343
 
 

SOURCE American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation
    ATLANTA, July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects 2.1
 million Americans and despite many advances in the understanding of the
 disease, funds for research remain limited and both the cause and a cure
 are still unknown. The American College of Rheumatology Research and
 Education Foundation (ACR REF) is working to accelerate RA research and
 expand financial support of this disease by launching the Within Our Reach:
 Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis campaign. The new program is
 designed to raise unprecedented funds to search for a cure.
     RA is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis and costs society
 more than $80 billion each year. The disease affects more than one in every
 200 Americans. However, research funding for RA averages as little as
 $25.90 per patient and remains significantly low compared to other chronic
 diseases that affect far fewer people like lupus, diabetes and multiple
 sclerosis, which average $330.00 per patient. Despite the lack of funding,
 research has led to more effective and aggressive, treatments as well as a
 better understanding of how to manage the disease.
     "Therapy for patients with RA has improved dramatically, and we also
 have learned that early diagnosis is essential," said Dr. James R. O'Dell,
 president of the REF. "While there is no cure, patients who receive
 treatment early feel better and are more likely to lead an active life.
 Painful symptoms including inflammation and joint damage can be minimized
 with early treatment and further research will continue to better patients'
 lives and get us closer to a cure."
     Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms and Diagnosis
     RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease that develops because certain cells
 of the immune system malfunction and attack healthy joints. It is far more
 common in women than many expect. Approximately 1 to 3 percent of women may
 develop RA in their lifetime, which is three times more common in women as
 in men. While symptoms most often begin between the fourth and sixth
 decades of life, RA can develop at any age.
     Pain, stiffness, swelling, and limitation in the motion and function of
 multiple joints are the most common symptoms. Though joints are the
 principal body parts affected by RA, inflammation can develop in other
 organs as well. Additional warning signs also include:
     -- Loss of energy
     -- Low-grade fevers
     -- Loss of appetite
     -- Dry eyes and mouth from an associated condition known as Sjogren's
        syndrome
     -- Firm lumps called rheumatoid nodules beneath the skin in areas such as
        the elbow and hands
     RA can be difficult to diagnose because it may begin gradually and many
 diseases behave in a manner similar to RA. Patients suspected of having RA
 should be evaluated by a rheumatologist, a physician with the necessary
 skill and experience to reach a precise diagnosis and develop the most
 appropriate treatment plan.
     Patients can visit www.rheumatology.org/directory to find a
 rheumatologist in their area.
     About Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis
 Campaign
     Within Our Reach is a national, multi-year fundraising campaign with a
 goal to raise $30 million towards accelerating innovative research focused
 specifically on rheumatoid arthritis. It is the largest private fundraising
 campaign in the REF's history, which will tap a diverse donor base,
 supporting innovative research to learn more about the causes of RA and,
 ultimately, to find a cure. Since November, the campaign has received
 tremendous support from the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies,
 physicians and patients.
     "Today, more funding needs to be directed towards the kind of RA
 research that goes beyond treatment only - the kind of RA research that
 seeks to find a cure through better understanding of the causes of and
 preventions for this devastating disease," added Dr. O'Dell. "With the
 guidance of ACR Research and Education Foundation, Within Our Reach will
 allow more of this type of research to be conducted and together we can
 work to find a cure."
     To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and Within Our Reach, please
 visit www.WithinOurReach.info.
     About the ACR Research and Education Foundation
     The ACR Research and Education Foundation was established in 1985 as a
 501(c)(3) with a mission to improve patients' lives through support of
 research and training that advances the prevention, treatment and cure of
 rheumatic diseases. Since its founding, the REF has promoted and advanced
 the field of rheumatology by funding research, training and education
 opportunities for clinicians, students, health professionals, researchers
 and academic institutions. On average, 90 cents of every dollar donated to
 the REF is used to fund its extensive award and grant program.
     Contact: Lucy McDonald
                 Brand Resources Group, Inc.
                 703-739-8343
 
 SOURCE American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation