Arthritis discovery

May 19, 1995

The use of steroids could benefit thousands of arthritis sufferers, according to the results of an Pounds 85,000 research and clinical trial programme at Bristol University.

In the 1950s, high doses of steroids were used to treat the symptoms of advanced rheumatoid arthritis. This approach was abandoned because dangerous side-effects emerged.

But John Kirwan of Bristol University's Rheumatology Unit was convinced that low doses of corticosteroids could be effective.

In partnership with Margaret Byron of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, he developed a low-dose strategy and began clinical trials with 128 volunteer patients. Half were given the daily steroid pill, with the remainder receiving a placebo.

After it had been monitored for two years, it emerged that those on the low dose of corticosteroids had less bone and tissue damage. They also found that the underlying disease had been reduced.

"The exciting thing about the result is that we now have the hope of controlling the disease long term," he said. The study was financed by the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Home secretary says government will support 'best' universities

Man handing microphone to audience member

Academic attainment of disadvantaged students can be improved if they can decide how they are assessed, study claims

Woman drinking tea from saucer

Plugging a multibillion-pound deficit exacerbated by June’s poll result may require ‘drastic measures’, analysts have warned

Italy's gold medallist

New measures to ensure universities are ‘not penalised’ for taking poorer students also outlined for next stage of TEF

Classroom, school

Higher education institutions can and should do more to influence education at a secondary school level, says Edward Peck