Targeted therapy in rheumatoid arthritis

Wien Med Wochenschr. 2006 Jan;156(1-2):53-60. doi: 10.1007/s10354-005-0245-6.


The approach of targeting cytokines has dramatically improved the success in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The blocking of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha or interleukin (IL)-1 is well established in clinical practice, but a lack or loss of clinical response still occurs in up to 30% of RA patients. Therefore, enhanced efforts must be made to develop new strategies to disrupt the inflammatory process and to inhibit synovitis and joint destruction. In this respect, the blocking of IL-6 receptor with tocilizumab, the prevention of costimulatory T cell signals by abatacept, or targeting B cells with rituximab look promising in clinical trials. Furthermore, blocking intracellular signal transduction broadens the spectrum of targeted therapy. This article reviews recent clinical aspects of established anti-cytokine therapies and gives an insight into the experimental and clinical development of new specifically acting drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Rituximab
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Synovitis / drug therapy
  • Synovitis / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Rituximab
  • Abatacept
  • tocilizumab