Rheumatology Network Explores Roadblocks to Research for New Treatments

Jan 26, 2015, 09:36 ET from UBM Medica US

NORWALK, Conn., Jan. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- UBM Medica US announces that Rheumatology Network, a leading online community for rheumatologists, features expert debate on the roadblocks to research into new treatments for rheumatic diseases.

In the article The 'Demise' of Rheuma Drug Trials: What Next?, Rheumatology Network reveals that a collaborative network of doctors doing rheumatology research in Canada has closed up shop, and cites the reasons why they found it impossible to continue testing new treatments for these diseases. The article has prompted vigorous response from specialists in the United States, who warn of the same problems:

  • Unacceptable protocols that require patients to change treatments that may appear to be succeeding,
  • Criteria that make the population under study quite different from the kinds of patients that doctors actually see (and therefore may make the study irrelevant to most of them)
  • Onerous regulations that make clinical research a money-losing proposition for most doctors.

In a comment to the article, one reader describes why doing clinical trials has become a "logistical nightmare."

A second reader writes, "Funding academics to show lack of efficacy of medications that clearly work has already happened," and a third says it is "almost impossible as a solo rheumatologist to serve the health needs of my community and also devote time to [clinical trials]." 

Rheumatic diseases, which affect the joints and can cause chronic pain, are a broad spectrum of disorders including arthritis, lupus, and gout. According to the American College of Rheumatology, arthritis alone affects about 25% of Americans. 

Although the problems under discussion are not unique to rheumatology, they are a particular challenge for rheumatic diseases, many of which are relatively rare and still lack treatments that are safe and broadly effective.

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