Unmet need in rheumatology: reports from the Advances in Targeted Therapies meeting, 2022

Ann Rheum Dis. 2023 May;82(5):594-598. doi: 10.1136/ard-2022-223528. Epub 2023 Jan 26.


To detail the unmet clinical and scientific needs in the field of rheumatology. After a 2-year hiatus due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the 22nd annual international Advances in Targeted Therapies meeting brought together more than 100 leading basic scientists and clinical researchers in rheumatology, immunology, epidemiology, molecular biology and other specialties. Breakout sessions were convened with experts in five rheumatological disease-specific groups including: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and connective tissue diseases (CTDs). In each group, experts were asked to identify and prioritise current unmet needs in clinical and translational research, as well as highlight recent progress in meeting formerly identified unmet needs. Clinical trial design innovation was emphasised across all disease states. Within RA, developing therapies and trials for refractory disease patients remained among the most important identified unmet needs and within lupus and spondyloarthritis the need to account for disease endotypes was highlighted. The RA group also identified the need to better understand the natural history of RA, pre-RA states and the need ultimately for precision medicine. In CTD generally, experts focused on the need to better identify molecular, cellular and clinical signals of early and undifferentiated disease in order to identify novel drug targets. There remains a strong need to develop therapies and therapeutic strategies for those with treatment-refractory disease. Increasingly it is clear that we need to better understand the natural history of these diseases, including their 'predisease' states, and identify molecular signatures, including at a tissue level, which can facilitate disease diagnosis and treatment. As these unmet needs in the field of rheumatic diseases have been identified based on consensus of expert clinicians and scientists in the field, this document may serve individual researchers, institutions and industry to help prioritise their scientific activities.

Keywords: ankylosing spondylitis; psoriatic arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; spondyloarthritis; systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Psoriatic* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Rheumatic Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Rheumatic Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Rheumatology*
  • SARS-CoV-2