Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful chronic disorder. Conventional therapies are palliative, not curative. Advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology of RA have led to the development of new therapeutic strategies, including gene therapy. Multiple studies in several different animal models provide proof supporting the use of gene therapy in arthritis. A phase I clinical trial has already been performed successfully on nine women with end-stage RA in the United States, and two other trials are in progress. Limited duration of gene expression impedes the development of a clinically useful genetic treatment for arthritis.
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