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ATLANTA - The American College of Rheumatology's President, Sharad Lakhanpal, MBBS, MD, released a statement today in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the American Health Care Act (AHCA). In the response, Lakhanpal expressed concern over the MacArthur amendment, states being able to opt out of essential coverage, and the $8 billion funding for high-risk pool being an insufficient, short-term fix. "If enacted in its current form, the legislation would make it harder for our patients to access the care they need to manage pain, avoid long-term disability, remain active in the workforce, and preserve their quality of life, " said Lakhanpal. "Changes made to the bill in recent weeks - specifically those outlined in the MacArthur Amendment - would allow states to opt out of many of the crucial consumer protections the ACA provides to chronic disease patients, including essential health benefits, the ban on health status underwriting, and the 3-to-1 age rating ratio. If states waive these protections, healthcare coverage will become unaffordable for individuals with pre-existing conditions like arthritis, and may lead to discrimination against individuals with certain high-cost medical conditions. "Furthermore, the $8 billion in additional funding for high-risk pools is a short-term fix for people with life-long care needs. High-risk pools have been historically underfunded, and chronically ill patients seeking this type of coverage regularly experience soaring deductibles and premiums. Without an official score from the Congressional Budget Office, there is no way to assess whether the additional funding would be enough to offset coverage losses for people living with arthritis." The ACR has outlined specific provisions that would need to be included in any replacement bill to ensure Americans have continued access to rheumatologic care. The complete statement is available on the ACR website. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is the nation's leading advocacy organization for the rheumatology care community, representing more than 9,500 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. As an ethically driven, professional membership organization committed to improving healthcare for Americans living with rheumatic diseases, the ACR advocates for high-quality, high-value policies and reforms that will ensure safe, effective, affordable and accessible rheumatology care.


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dr. R. Swamy Venuturupalli, M.D., one of the nation’s leading rheumatologists, has launched his new practice, Attune Health (www.attunehealth.com). To better serve patients who suffer from autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, Attune Health offers a comprehensive, state-of-the-art suite of services. Attune Health’s new location at 8750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 350, Beverly Hills, California, 90211, represents the strategic alliance of Dr. Venuturupalli and Dr


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Montecito Medical Real Estate, a premier owner of medical office buildings throughout the U.S., has acquired the newly constructed DaVita Medical Group clinic in Albuquerque, N.M. Formerly known as ABQ Health Partners, DaVita Medical Group is one of the area's largest multi-specialty medical groups and is a division of DaVita, Inc. (NYSE:DVA), a leading provider of kidney-care services in the United States. The 85,000-square-foot flagship Sunport Healthcare Center not only incorporates patient-centered design elements like soothing colors and music, but also features WELL Building Standards intended to promote healthy lifestyles for occupants. For instance, in addition to the revolutionary floor plan with high ceilings, non-glare windows that maximize daylight, and a landscaped courtyard, the building offers scenic views from a spacious, inviting staircase to motivate people to be active. The 150 "teammates" who work in the building will enjoy a fitness area with locker rooms and showers; sit-stand desks in working spaces; and break rooms that double as gathering places with healthy-eating options. “The innovative design of this new building incorporates DaVita's 'Trilogy of Care' and our approach of 'A Community First and A Company Second,'" said Arthur Richey, Senior Director of Development for DDP Team Genesis, of DaVita, Inc. "It fosters a positive relationship between doctors and their patients, which we believe is the key to great healthcare." The two-story facility on nearly nine acres near the Albuquerque International Sunport boasts a radiology department with state-of-the-art ultrasound, CT and MRI imaging equipment and features the conveniences of a retail pharmacy and a café. In addition to a skin-care clinic and infusion therapy center, specialty providers include dermatologists, neurologists, pediatricians, podiatrists, rheumatologists and radiologists. “We are thrilled to have worked with DaVita, Inc., a leading healthcare provider and consistently named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies,” said Chip Conk, CEO of Montecito Medical. “This asset complements our growing portfolio perfectly and we look forward to working with DaVita on other opportunities as they continue to grow their services throughout the U.S.” Including the new DaVita building, Montecito Medical has acquired 30 medical office buildings since early 2015, representing more than $400 million and 1.46 million square feet.


News Article | May 6, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

These postcards will be sent by members of the Northern Great Plains ankylosing spondylitis (AS) support group in honor of World AS Day. When group members got the impression that nobody new was being referred to join, group leader Bonnie Smith turned to the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) for help reaching out to rheumatologists, the specialists who treat AS. According to Smith, “Though we have left information at rheumatologists' offices, and members have personally asked their rheumatologists to recommend our group, we have seen little increase in members or visitors.” SAA was concerned that this might indicate doctors in the area are not diagnosing new cases of AS, and early diagnosis of the disease is a major priority for the organization. As SAA’s Executive Director Laurie Savage says, “Because most of the damage caused by spondylitis occurs in the first 10 years, early diagnosis means early treatment to improve quality of life.” This is a major challenge because the average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis can be as long as 10 years, the same critical period that the most damage is done. Smith says, “I ignored the symptoms for years, living on Advil and Excedrin… Finally, when I could stand the back pain no more, my primary care physician ordered a full back x-ray… Because my sacroiliac joints are completely fused and problems exist in the cervical and thoracic areas as well as in the lumbar region, I must have had it for decades.” SAA and Smith needed a novel way to reach rheumatologists, who regularly receive traditional literature and brochures about diseases. That is how the idea of patients sending handwritten notes on AS educational postcards that read “Think Spondylitis” on front was born. SAA’s Programs Director, Elin Aslanyan says, “We know that our support group members have been able to find some great doctors, but we want to be certain that all rheumatologists in North Dakota are thinking of spondylitis.”


The IL-6 inhibitors may have a harder time penetrating the RA EU market, where Roche's RoActemra (tocilizumab) is the third most commonly prescribed biologic behind AbbVie's Humira and Pfizer's Enbrel with use far surpassing that of Actemra in the US.  Though over one-quarter of the respondents believe the new IL-6 inhibitors will be completely interchangeable with RoActemra, they also note that the greatest barriers for displacing RoActemra are it's length of time on the market, well understood safety profile, rheumatologist comfort in prescribing, and RoActemra's strong supporting clinical data. Further changes impacting the RA treatment paradigm across the EU include the continued acceptance and adoption of biosimilars.  Indeed, 41% of rheumatologists noted that biosimilars have been the single most significant change with regard to RA management over the past year.  Additionally, the biosimilar versions of Remicade now account for nearly 40% of all infliximab use and Biogen/Samsung's Benepali accounts for 25% of all etanercept use. About Spherix Global Insights Spherix Global Insights is a business intelligence and market research company, specializing in renal, autoimmune, neurologic and rare disease markets.  Our aim is to apply our commercial experience and unique relationships within core specialty markets to translate data into insight, enabling our clients to make smarter business decisions. All company, brand or product names in this document may be trademarks of their respective holders. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eu-rheumatoid-arthritis-landscape-poised-for-big-changes-as-rheumatologists-plan-for-the-adoption-of-eli-lillyincytes-olumiant-pfizers-xeljanz-and-regeneronsanofis-kevzara-300451672.html


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) will host the 2017 World Congress on Osteoarthritis, April 27 – 30 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. The annual OARSI Congress is a global forum for those involved in OA research and treatment from academia and industry. The meeting features international speakers presenting the latest information on a wide range of topics related to joint damage and OA. More than 1,100 of the world's leading scientists, clinicians, clinical investigators, rheumatologists, orthopedists, radiologists and others interested in osteoarthritis research are expected to attend this broad-based global forum presented annually by OARSI. “The World Congress brings together professionals across all disciplines to learn about new technologies and research in the OA field,” said Dr. Tonia Vincent, Congress Program Chair and OARSI Board Member. “The program committee has worked tirelessly to develop a program that will allow attendees the opportunity to learn and network with some of the best and most informed professionals in the industry.” This 2017 World Congress program features plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, breakfast workshops and more oral presentations of abstracts than any Congress before it. Attendees may receive Continuing Medical Education credits by registering and attending sessions. Back by popular demand, there will be a debate held on Saturday, April 29 titled, Is Exercise Good or Bad for OA?! Dr. Stephen Messier is well-known for his work on the effects of exercise and weight loss on gait, strength, function, and pain in knee OA and will highlight the benefits of exercise in patients with OA. Dr. Nigel Arden, MBBS, FRCP, MSc, is an International Leader in epidemiology, predictive modelling and trial design and will focus on the negative effects of exercise for those with OA. o    Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Stefan Lohmander o    Basic Science Award Recipient: Francisco Blanco, "Osteoarthritis, From the Chondrocyte to the Mitochondria" o    Clinical Science Award Recipient: Frances Berenbaum,"Inflammation in Osteoarthritis: Why Does OA Occur in Non-weight Bearing Joints?" o    Lindsay Hall BSc, PhD, All You Need to Know About the Microbiome! - Discover the critical role your gut and its resident microbes play in host well-being. Dr Lindsay Hall from the Institute of Food Research will talk through the role of the microbiota, including detection methodologies, bacterial biology and how the microbiota controls different physiological functions such as immune system development. New features at this year’s Congress include: o    The goal of this new course is to equip investigators and industry sponsors to understand the complexities of running patient-oriented randomized clinical trials in osteoarthritis. Programming for Young Investigators: OARSI offers an interactive forum designed for young investigators to meet leaders in OA research to seek career and research advice. Various programs throughout the Congress link young investigators with someone working within their field of interest. For more information or to obtain a press pass for any of the offered sessions or abstracts visit http://2017.oarsi.org/. Opportunities to sponsor the OARSI 2017 Congress are also available. About OARSI: OARSI is the premier international organization for scientists and health care professional focused on the prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis through the promotion and presentation of research, education and the worldwide dissemination of new knowledge. For more information on the 2017 World Congress on Osteoarthritis and a complete schedule of events visit http://2017.oarsi.org/.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Friday, May 5, 2017, the Directors of Health Promotion & Education (DHPE) completes its tour of all five regions of the Chi Eta Phi Sorority at the 64th Annual Southwest Regional Conference, South Point Casino and Hotel, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV. “With the average diagnosis timeframe being 4 to 6 years, lupus patients need more health care providers to know and recognize the signs and symptoms of lupus to decrease the diagnosis timeframe and help lupus patients have better health outcomes,” said DHPE Lupus Education and Awareness for Patients, Professionals and Providers (LEAP) Program Director Thometta Cozart, MS, MPH, CHES, CPH. Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease with no cure that can damage any part of the body, including skin, joints and organs. Current research shows that at least 1.5 million Americans have lupus, per the Lupus Foundation of America. Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians. “Lupus is a difficult disease to diagnosis and this partnership with the DHPE LEAP will ensure our professional nurse membership is better prepared to address lupus health disparities, such as late diagnosis among women of color that may lead to organ failure and premature death,” said Chi Eta Phi National Vice President Priscilla J. Murphy LPCMH, MEd, BSN, RN, and owner of Nylex Educational & Counseling Services, Inc. According to the American College of Rheumatology, lupus patients see at least three providers, including nurses, before receiving an accurate lupus diagnosis. Lupus educational sessions featuring rheumatologists, lupus researchers and lupus patients will be coordinated by DHPE LEAP and hosted at the regional meetings of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. to educate more nurses on the signs and symptoms of lupus for more accurate diagnosis. DHPE’s Lupus Education and Awareness for Patients, Professionals and Providers [LEAP] Program Session is scheduled for Friday, May 5, 2017. It will be opened by Thometta Cozart, MS, MPH, CHES, CPH, LEAP Program Director and features: Irene Blanco, MD, MS, Associate Dean of Diversity Enhancement, Rheumatology Fellowship Program Director, Einstein College of Medicine and Lupus Patient Advocate Hetlena Johnson, Chief Volunteer Officer of South Carolina Community Partner, an affiliate of the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. The session will educate on the signs and symptoms of lupus; the descriptive epidemiological assessment of the disease; case studies and the patient-provider perspective. Established in October 16, 1932, Chi Eta Phi has more than 8,000 sorority members in graduate and undergraduate chapters grouped into five regions based on geographic areas. The chapters are located throughout the United States, District of Columbia, St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Island and Liberia, West Africa. The Sorority has programs focusing on health promotion/disease prevention, leadership development, mentoring, recruitment and retention and scholarships. The partnership is part of the DHPE LEAP Program, which is funded by the national Office of Minority Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. The program targets women of color who are at an increased risk for lupus, as well as educating public health professionals and primary care providers of the signs and symptoms of lupus. The LEAP Program also has national partnerships with the National Medical Association and the National Black Nurses Association. For more program information contact LEAP Project Director Thometta Cozart at tcozart@dhpe.org and visit the program website at http://www.bit.ly/dhpelupus. The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to build on principles and practices of health promotion and education to strengthen public health capacity in policy and systems change, thereby improving the health of all and achieving health equity. DHPE, founded in 1946, is legally known as the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education (ASTDHPPHE). DHPE is located at 1030 15th Street NW, #275, Washington, DC 20005. For more information, visit http://www.dhpe.org.


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

WAYNE, NJ--(Marketwired - February 22, 2017) - Konica Minolta Healthcare today announced the launch of its J5 Ultrasound System, a portable system with touch-screen intuitive navigation that produces high quality real-time images of the musculoskeletal (MSK) system. The new technology delivers the workflow benefits and diagnostic accuracy required to make critical point-of-care decisions during MSK evaluations. "The J5 release highlights our innovative approach to reinventing point-of-care ultrasound and increasing users' ability to do more with ultrasound," said Brian Noyes, Sr. Vice President and General Manager, Ultrasound Division at Konica Minolta. "It delivers a unique ease-of-use functionality unmatched by other technologies in the market, designed for securing clinical confidence in MSK scanning environments." The J5 Ultrasound System enables real-time examination of soft tissue without radiation exposure in a portable, ergonomic design. Orthopedists, sports medicine physicians, rheumatologists, podiatrists, and other MSK-focused physicians can provide immediate assessments of musculoskeletal ailments and help improve joint aspiration, biopsy, and injection accuracy with ultrasound. Needle visualization software allows for guidance during in-plane needle procedures. A three-second start-up time from standby, the J5 System boasts intuitive gesture controls and focused MSK presets to streamline the scanning process. The simple navigation, which includes one-touch image optimization, enhances efficient workflow for confident diagnoses and patient throughput. The new point-of-care ultrasound system provides excellent visualization via a 15" high-resolution, anti-glare screen with wide viewing angle that is touch-responsive through gloves and gel. The J5 can either be mounted on an ergonomically designed table stand, VESA plate for wall mounting, or height-adjustable mobile cart to accommodate facilities with limited space. The built-in battery supports over two hours of continuous scanning on the system, which includes wireless communication, and storage and archiving. "The engineers designed the J5 with the end user in mind, making operation seamless and simple. Combined with excellent image quality and an efficient workflow the J5 System demonstrates Konica Minolta's commitment to MSK physicians who want to incorporate ultrasound into their practices," concluded Noyes. Konica Minolta Healthcare is a world-class provider and market leader in medical diagnostic imaging and healthcare information technology. With over 75 years of endless innovation, Konica Minolta is globally recognized as a leader providing cutting-edge technologies and comprehensive support aimed at providing real solutions to meet customers' needs and helping make better decisions sooner. Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas, Inc., headquartered in Wayne, NJ, is a unit of Konica Minolta, Inc. ( : 4902). For more information on Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas, Inc., please visit www.konicaminolta.com/medicalusa.


WASHINGTON -- Patients with ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis who take statins may have as much as a 33 percent lower mortality risk, according to new research findings presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is arthritis of the spine that can resemble rheumatoid arthritis. It more often affects males, with HLA antigen present but rheumatoid factor absent. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic form of arthritis that can affect the skin and joints. It can lead to joint damage if not treated. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston set out to explore the potential benefits of statins, which can both lower lipids and reduce inflammation, in patients with AS or PsA, which are both seronegative spondyloarthropathies. Both AS and PsA are associated with increased cardiovascular mortality risk. The goal of the study was to see if initiation of statins might be associated with a lower mortality risk in this patient population. "The expanding literature on the dual-role of statins to lower both inflammation and cholesterol levels has naturally led to interest in the role of statins in inflammatory arthritis," said Amar Oza, MD, a rheumatologist at Massachusetts General and a lead author of the study along with Na Lu, MD and Hyon Choi, MD. "A randomized trial found such a dual benefit among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and a population-based study of patients with RA found a survival benefit associated with statin use as well. As such, we hoped to quantify the potential impact of statins in the seronegative spondyloarthropathies, as the risk of all-cause mortality and even cardiovascular-specific mortality has shown to be elevated in these conditions." Using a United Kingdom (UK) general population database, the researchers studied both AS and PsA patients between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2014. They also used 50 different variables to create propensity scores, including disease duration, socioeconomic status, body-mass index, lifestyle factors and medication use. Of 2,904 patients with either AS or PsA who started statins, 271 died during the follow-up, a mean of 5.3 years. Of 2,904 propensity-matched AS or PsA patients who did not start statins, 376 died during the follow-up, a mean of 5.15 years. Baseline characteristics between the two groups were well balanced. Statin initiation was associated with 33 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. The inverse association of statin initiation and mortality risk among AS and PsA patients appears to be larger than that observed in other population-based cohort studies of rheumatoid arthritis patients, the study noted. Statins' dual benefits of lowering lipids and reducing inflammation, both contributors to cardiovascular disease risk, could be the reason for this significant benefit. "Given the increased risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease compared to the general population, patients with seronegative spondyloarthropathies like AS and PsA may benefit from the dual anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering properties of statins, perhaps even more than in the general population," said Dr. Oza. "This observational study raises the possibility that clinicians may have a lower threshold for starting their patients on statins to mitigate this mortality risk. To that effect, it sets the groundwork for potential clinical trials to come, which will provide high-level evidence about the impact statins have on their health." More research is needed to explore the potential benefits of statins to prevent mortality due to cardiovascular and other causes, he concluded. This research was supported by funding from the NIH's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. About the American College of Rheumatology Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., the American College of Rheumatology is an international medical society representing over 9,400 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to Advance Rheumatology! In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For more information, visit http://www. . The ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting is the premier meeting in rheumatology. With more than 450 sessions and thousands of abstracts, it offers a superior combination of basic science, clinical science, tech-med courses, career enhancement education and interactive discussions on improving patient care. For more information about the meeting, visit http://www. , or join the conversation on Twitter by following the official #ACR16 hashtag.


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Three gene expression signatures can help rheumatologists predict which patients are more likely to respond to tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi) or B-cell depletion therapies in patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research findings presented this week at the 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Washington. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and limitation in the motion and function of multiple joints. Though joints are the principal body parts affected by RA, inflammation can develop in other organs as well. An estimated 1.3 million Americans have RA, and the disease typically affects women twice as often as men. Drawing on data from the ORBIT study, a randomized, controlled trial of RA patients in the United Kingdom, researchers looked for gene expression markers that would help predict responses to either TNFi drugs or the B-cell therapy rituximab, or both. The ORBIT data "showed that patients who have seropositive rheumatoid arthritis are just as likely to respond to rituximab therapy when compared to anti-TNF therapy," said Duncan Porter, MD, Honorary Associate Professor and a consultant rheumatologist at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, and one of the lead authors of the study. "However, a significant proportion of patients failed to respond to their first biologic drug, but responded when they were switched to the alternative. If we could identify markers in the blood that predicted which drug patients were most likely to respond to, that would allow us to choose the best treatment for that patient at the start, rather than rely on a trial-and-error approach." Dr. Porter and his fellow researchers sequenced the RNA from the peripheral blood of 241 RA patients recruited for the ORBIT study, after first depleting ribosomal and globin RNA. They used 70 percent of the samples to develop response prediction models, and reserved 30 percent for validation. Clinical response to the therapies was defined as a drop in DAS28-ESR (disease activity score) of 1.2 units between the baseline and at three months. They used multiple machine learning tools to predict general responsiveness and differential responses to TNFi and rituximab. They also used tenfold cross validation to train the models for responsiveness, and then tested these on the validation samples as well. Using support vector machine recursive feature elimination, the researchers identified three gene expression signatures that predicted therapy responses. Eight genes predicted general responsiveness to both TNFi and rituximab, 23 genes predicted responsiveness to TNFi and 23 genes predicted responsiveness to rituximab. The researchers also tested their prediction models on the validation set, and this resulted in ROC (receiver operating characteristic) plot points with an AUC (area under the curve) of 91.6 percent for general responsiveness, 89.7 percent for TNFi response and 85.7 percent for rituximab response. "There are indeed gene expression markers that predict drug-specific response," said Dr. Porter. "If confirmed, this will allow stratification of patients into groups more likely to respond to one drug rather than another. This would lead to higher response rates, and reduced likelihood of receiving a trial of an ineffective drug. Because ineffective treatment is associated with pain, stiffness, disability and reduced quality of life, this will lead to better patient care." Confirmation of these models is the next step for research in this area, said Dr. Porter. "The findings need to be confirmed using targeted RNA sequencing, or internal validation, and then tested in a new cohort of patients, or external validation. Ultimately, a commercial testing kit would be developed to allow clinicians to test patients before they receive treatment to guide them to the most effective treatment," he said.

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