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HemoShear And Janssen R&D Identify Vascular Health Benefits Of RA Drugs

Monday, November 17, 2014  
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HemoShear and Janssen Research and Development (Janssen) will report data showing that a subset of compounds used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) also suppress inflammation and have the potential to promote vascular health.

Data will be discussed in a joint poster presentation at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston, MA on November 14-19, 2014.

The prevalence of atherosclerosis is increased approximately two-fold in RA patients. Both diseases are chronic inflammatory conditions that share molecular links including IL-6 and TNFα signaling. Current treatments for RA target IL-6, the IL-6 receptor, TNF α and the protein kinase, JAK.

The study leveraged HemoShear's novel translational human vascular tissue system to expose multiple cell types to blood-flow conditions similar to those present in arterial regions, which are prone to developing atherosclerosis.

The data revealed that RA drugs that inhibit the IL-6 pathway, such as Janssen's sirukumab, a drug currently in Phase III development, and Genentech's tocilizumab, a prescription RA drug known as ACTEMRA®, suppress inflammation and have the potential to promote greater vascular health compared to drugs that inhibit different RA pathways such as TNF α and JAK.

The results lay the groundwork to explore potential new biomarkers for diagnosing RA patients with increased risk for cardiovascular disease and to discover new therapeutic targets for RA and cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, physicians will have better options for treating RA patients.

"We are pleased to co-present these important findings related to RA with our collaborators at Janssen," said Brett Blackman, PhD, VP and Chief Scientific Officer at HemoShear. "Our results demonstrate that a more accurate, human-relevant disease model is able to deliver extraordinary insight into this complex immunologic disease and related conditions such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases."

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