In recent years researchers have gained a greater understanding of
the immunological and inflammatory mechanisms underlying rheumatoid
arthritis. Much of their efforts have centred on the role of the
cytokine network in the pathophysiology of the disease. On the
basis of these discoveries pharmaceutical companies have developed
several potential biologic agents aimed at addressing cytokine
imbalance and its subsequent effects on cartilage damage and joint
destruction in rheumatoid arthritis. This pocketbook will provide
an overview of the role of cytokines in the disease process, with a
particular focus on one cytokine, interleukin-1 (IL-1) and on the
therapeutic efficacy of its inhibition.
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