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Climbing Mountains to Conquer Arthritis

Climbing Mountains to Conquer Arthritis

People climb mountains for many reasons. For some, it’s a test of physical strength and endurance. For others, it’s for the rush and exhilaration. For Alex Jakobson, it was to prove to himself that he can overcome the pain and limitations of arthritis. Alex was living a great life when arthritis reared its ugly head. He was 35 years old, married to his sweetheart and living in France where he enjoyed a very social and active lifestyle. “I was playing soccer for the British Embassy team,” explains Alex. “I headed a ball and immediately felt pain in my neck. The pain was ...more
Researchers on the Path to a Cure - Spotlight on Dr. James Martin

Researchers on the Path to a Cure - Spotlight on Dr. James Martin

What if injured joints could heal themselves before they develop osteoarthritis (OA)? Dr. James Martin’s current 3-year Arthritis Foundation-funded project, “Engineering Endogenous Cartilage Repair,” is trying to do just that- find ways to help joints heal before developing OA. Dr. Martin and his team use special goats that have defects in areas of the thigh bones and cartilage, just above the knee. This closely mimics knee injuries that are seen in humans. The defects are surgically repaired with a hydrogel matrix that contains two important ingredients: repair cell attractant and growth factor. The repair cell attractant causes repair cells, called chondrogenic ...more
A Dream Come True – Meet Our 2017 National Youth Honoree Mariah Aquino-Truss

A Dream Come True – Meet Our 2017 National Youth Honoree Mariah Aquino-Truss

When Mariah Aquino-Truss was just five years old, she was in so much pain each day she told her mom, Tory, that she “didn’t want to be here anymore.” Imagine hearing such an admission from your young daughter who was newly diagnosed with a form of juvenile arthritis (JA) known as polyarticular spondyloarthropathy. Polyarticular spondyloarthropathy is a juvenile form of ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic, long term disease that affects the joints, ligaments, tendons and entheses. Shocked, saddened and ferociously determined to help Mariah and her family, Tory set out to find help – a road that led her to the Arthritis ...more
FDA OKs a New Biologic for RA

FDA OKs a New Biologic for RA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the biologic drug sarilumab (Kevzara) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Sarilumab blocks a protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6), which plays a key role in many inflammatory diseases, including RA. It’s the second IL-6 inhibitor to receive FDA approval for RA; the other, tocilizumab (Actemra), got the nod in 2010. IL-6 blockers historically have not been used as first-line treatments for RA (because they were developed later). They’re usually tried after other treatments such as methotrexate and anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drugs have failed to relieve symptoms and/or adequately control disease activity. There are ...more
Victory in Texas – Legislation Limits Step Therapy

Victory in Texas – Legislation Limits Step Therapy

Exciting news in Texas! On May 23, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 680 into law, limiting the use of step therapy. Texas now joins a growing number of states that have enacted laws that regulate the use of step therapy. With over 4 million adults and 24,900 kids with doctor-diagnosed arthritis in Texas, this is a major victory! Step therapy is used by health insurance providers to control the order and use of prescriptions drugs. A patient could be required to try and fail lower-cost or other drugs selected by their insurance provider before coverage is granted for the drug ...more
Victory for Maryland! Biosimilar Bill Signed by the Governor!

Victory for Maryland! Biosimilar Bill Signed by the Governor!

We applaud Maryland Governor Larry Hogan for joining 28 other states in creating a pathway for the substitution of biologic medications with biosimilars by signing the Pharmacists – Substitution and Dispensing of Biological Products bill into law. Biologics are life altering drugs for people with arthritis and are very complex products made with living cells. Because of this complexity they are expensive. Biosimilars, are a new class of drugs that are similar to biologics. They have the potential to lower medication costs. This new legislation creates a pathway that allows for the substitution of biologics with safe and effective interchangeable biologic products ...more
Researchers on the Path to a Cure - Spotlight on Dr. Martin Kriegel

Researchers on the Path to a Cure - Spotlight on Dr. Martin Kriegel

Trillions of bacteria live in or on your body. There are actually as many bacteria in your body as cells in your body. Fortunately, for most of us, most bacteria that live within us are helpful, not harmful. We call these bacteria commensal bacteria. Dr. Martin Kriegel and his team have been studying these bacteria, and more specifically, a protein that humans and bacteria produce, called Ro60, that plays a role in the development of lupus. Ro60 is a major target in lupus patients. It is one of the first proteins that antibodies recognize in healthy people who are predisposed to ...more
Arthritis Foundation Statement on the Official FY 2018 President’s Budget Request

Arthritis Foundation Statement on the Official FY 2018 President’s Budget Request

Today, the president released the administration's official budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which would make deep cuts to health programs across health agencies and would have severe implications for Medicaid and other programs that deliver vital health care services to people with arthritis. While the Arthritis Foundation agrees that health care reform is necessary and our country needs to make important spending decisions, it should not be at the expense of people with arthritis, which now affects one in four Americans and the prevalence is growing. Specifically, this budget would cut nearly $6 billion from the National Institutes of ...more
California Advocates Work for Passage of Bill That Will Improve Continuity of Care When Insurance Carrier Changes

California Advocates Work for Passage of Bill That Will Improve Continuity of Care When Insurance Carrier Changes

It’s not uncommon for patients to change their insurance carriers. Sometimes it’s by choice, perhaps because they find a carrier that better suits their needs. Other times, it might be out of their control, like when their employment changes. Regardless of why carriers are changed, should patients be required to restart the utilization management process with their new insurance carrier, essentially starting over and potentially undoing years of effective and consistent care? On May 8, 2017, we joined forces with the California Rheumatology Alliance and the National Psoriasis Foundation for our annual California Advocacy Summit. This event provided the opportunity for our Advocates ...more
Study Confirms That Losing Weight May Save Your Knees

Study Confirms That Losing Weight May Save Your Knees

Losing excess weight may help preserve knee cartilage in people who have or are at risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), whose findings were recently published online in the journal Radiology. Knee cartilage is the rubbery, slick cap that covers the ends of the upper (femur) and lower (tibia) leg bones that make up the knee joint. Their study also found that shedding extra pounds protected the menisci, the crescent-shaped cartilage pads that cushion the knee joint. Lead author Alexandra Gersing, MD, a postdoctoral scholar at UCSF School of Medicine, says ...more