The field of spondyloarthritis coming of age
Within the last few years, immune-mediated rheumatic diseases have seen spectacular progress in all areas – from discoveries in genetics and cellular mechanisms underlying pathogenesis of autoimmunity, to translation of this knowledge in developing novel therapies. This progress is not more evident in any particular disease area than in spondyloarthritis. After tumor necrosis factor inhibitors first got approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005, last year a new cytokine inhibitor therapy got approved by the FDA . We witnessed multiple articles being published, from new understanding of epidemiology of chronic back pain and ankylosing spondylitis within the United States [2–4], to possible new biomarkers for ankylosing spondylitis [5,6]; and from new treatment guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology, Spondylitis Association of America, Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network, and from the Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS) and European League against Rheumatism [7,8] to a phase II trial on a small molecule oral therapy blocking the intracellular signaling heralding a new class of drugs that could be effective in treating the signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis . This issue of the Current Opinion in Rheumatology highlights some of these, and other areas, where real progress is being made in spondyloarthritis. Apart from recounting the progress being made, these articles also discuss where further research is necessary and even suggest a research agenda.