ACR CONVERGENCE 2021—During Plenary Session 1 of ACR Convergence 2021, Nov. 6, researchers from around the U.S. and the world presented new findings that may help pave the way for better treatment strategies. They discussed research on the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in at-risk people, a deeper understanding of COVID-19 vaccination in those with chronic inflammatory conditions and more. Here are the highlights.
COVID-19 Vaccination & Chronic Inflammatory Conditions
A study on COVID-19 vaccination in people with chronic inflammatory conditions (COVaRiPAD) found almost all patients mount an antibody response, but with titers that are 3.4-fold lower than immunocompetent controls,1 said Alfred Kim, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.
Of the 274 people with chronic inflammatory conditions—including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions—90% had an immune response, but their responses varied dramatically depending on their medications.
B cell depletion therapy was associated with a 57.7-fold reduction in antibody titers, Janus kinase inhibitors with a 2.6-fold reduction and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors with a 2.3-fold reduction. Additionally, methotrexate was associated with a 4.4-fold reduction in antibody titers, mycophenolate mofetil with a 21-fold reduction and azathioprine with a 3.5-fold reduction.
Given the dramatic reduction in response with B cell depletion, patients on this therapy are encouraged to receive vaccination about a month before their next scheduled dose to maximize the time between their previous dose and their COVID-19 shot, Dr. Kim said.
Researchers are continuing to look at the durability of immune responses and to assess the impact of disease state, he said.
Risankizumab & PsA
The monoclonal antibody risankizumab performed significantly better than placebo at controlling the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in patients who had a poor response to, or intolerance of, at least one conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD),2 said Andrew Ostor, MD, adjunct associate professor at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
“Risankizumab was well tolerated and showed no new safety signals,” he said in his presentation. The drug is already approved to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
In the trial, 707 patients with a disease onset of at least six months before screening were randomized to receive 150 mg of risankizumab. Seven hundred patients were in the placebo group.