Tuesday, May 7, 2013

IL-6 as a Biomarker in Therapy of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Tocilizumab

Recently K. Shimamoto and colleagues published a study: “Serum Interleukin 6 Before and After Therapy with Tocilizumab Is a Principal Biomarker in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.” Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23637318. They concluded: “Although both TNF-α and IL-6 are major targets of therapeutic intervention in RA, baseline serum IL-6 but not baseline TNF-α level is a potential biomarker reflecting disease activity. Measurement of serum IL-6 in RA before treatment may be useful to estimate residual disease activity after TCZ treatment and to predict responsiveness to TCZ treatment.”

I think this could be a good idea, but … there are also costs involved. Here in Germany you can get IL-6 as a lab test quite easily as it is used in septicaemia, but it’s an expensive test, which you might have to buy for around 28 €. Will insurance companies cover this?

Provided we solve the compensation, it might prove to be very handy in everyday practice as a test whether tocilizumab is working and maybe how long the substance is working in individual patients, which would allow stretching intervals between infusions.

The company would be well advised researching the possibilities for this test in the setting of different countries.

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