For the 1.5 million people in the United States who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, there may be new hope. Scientists have discovered an inflammatory stress response that drives the development of RA and a specific inhibitor that could be used to block it.
While the immune system normally protects us from infections, autoimmune disorders like RA cause the immune system to attack its own body. RA produces chronic inflammation that can damage many organs, especially flexible joints. It mostly affects women between the ages of 40 and 60, although it can develop at any age. There appears to be a genetic component as well as an environmental trigger that contributes to RA.