Blood Test Aids Early Detection of Rheumatoid Arthritis
March 2015


A new blood test for the early detection and diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is now available in North America.
The JOINTstat test, developed by Augurex Life Sciences Corp (Vancouver, Canada), diagnoses the condition by measuring 14-3-3eta, a protein involved in joint damage that leads to debilitation in patients with RA. High levels of the 14-3-3eta protein indicate that the patient should be referred to a rheumatologist.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes painful,debilitating inflammation in the joints, and can cause symptoms in other parts of the body. Although no cure exists for RA, a variety of drug, surgical and therapeutic treatments are available to slow and manage the progress of the condition, minimising its negative effects.
“When diagnosed early, rheumatoid arthritis can be better managed with drug therapies, resulting in better outcomes by limiting disease progression. Current diagnostic tests are limited in their ability to catch the disease early. With the availability of JOINTstat in Canada, physicians now have the opportunity to treat rheumatoid arthritis early, prior to the onset of significant joint damage. This represents an important milestone towards the goal of personalised medicine,” commented Walter Maksymowych, MD, FRCPC, a professor in the department of medicine, division of rheumatology at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB, Canada).
Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis in the UK and the most common inflammatory joint disorder. It affects up to 2% of all adult women and 0.5% of adult men.
The JOINTstat test has been evaluated in clinical studies in over 3,000 patients, with studies showing that when levels of 13-3-3eta exceed 0.19 ng/mL there is a 5 to 50 times greater likelihood of the patient having RA. High levels of greater than 80 ng/mL indicate that RA that will lead to more joint damage over three years, and lower levels of less than 0.4 ng/mL or negative in RA diagnosed patients indicate a higher likelihood of response to RA therapy.
The study was presented at the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) Annual Scientific Meeting held 4-7th February, 2015, in Québec City (QC, Canada).


Blood Test Aids Early Detection of Rheumatoid Arthritis