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.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Board Member BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY (MAIN OFFICE)

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

smiley, laugh, happy, funny, silly, face, faces

Scholars should cheer up and learn to take the rough with the smooth, says John Tregoning

James Minchall illustration (12 May 2016)

An online experiment proves that part of the bill for complying with the Freedom of Information Act is self-inflicted, says Louis Goddard