New Guidelines and Tools for Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis

SEPTEMBER 09, 2009

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has released new guidelines for testing patients with suspected rheumatoid arthritis (RA) when more standardized tests have not conclusive.

Anti-CCP, a highly specific marker for RA, has been added to the NICE guideline for the diagnosis of RA, to be used when tests for rheumatoid factor are negative. According to the researchers, the diagnosis of RA generally involves assays for rheumatoid factor (Rf), c-reactive protein (CRP), and antibodies to cyclic citrullinated protein (anti-CCP). However, the researchers state, “RF is non-specific for RA, since it may be present in healthy elderly persons or patients with other autoimmune or infectious diseases, and CRP is a general inflammation marker.” Anti-CCP, the new marker that NICE is suggesting physicians look for when diagnosing RA, “is highly specific” to the condition, and therefore a better diagnostic marker, according to the researchers.

Roche, a self-billed “leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics,” has developed the Elecsys Anti-CCP assay, which will enable united testing for “different autoimmune tests (anti-CCP, anti-TG, anti-TSHR and anti-TPO), RF and CRP on a single serum work area (SWA) platform.” This new assay will enable physicians to test for anti-CCP more easily, which could, in turn, lessen the time it takes to diagnose RA and provide physicians with clearer results.

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