Development of anti-TNF therapy for rheumatoid arthritis

Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 May;2(5):364-71. doi: 10.1038/nri802.


The aetiology of systemic, autoimmune, chronic inflammatory diseases--such as rheumatoid arthritis--is not known, and their pathogenesis is complex and multifactorial. However, progress in the characterization of intercellular mediators--proteins that are now known as cytokines--has led to the realization that one cytokine, tumour-necrosis factor (TNF; previously known as TNF-alpha), has an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. This discovery heralded a new era of targeted and highly effective therapeutics for rheumatoid arthritis and, subsequently, other chronic inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / history
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / history*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / history
  • Cytokines / history
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / history*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cytokines
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha