Breaking free of drug treatments for rheumatoid arthritis
For nearly half a million Australians, the debilitating pain and swollen joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis makes basic tasks like holding a coffee cup or turning on a tap almost impossible.
A new groundbreaking treatment being developed by our researchers is now giving hope to those suffering from the chronic condition.
Hope that a normal life free from pain and medication may be on the horizon.
Having suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for over 22 years, Karen Down has tried every treatment available to her.
‘The medication makes the pain bearable most of the time, but when I have a flare-up it’s a struggle to do anything. Some days my joints are burning hot, stiff and swollen. I find it very hard to walk. I can’t put my car key into the ignition,’ Karen said.
The cocktail of drugs Karen needs to take has severely restricted her life and caused concerning side effects, more so in the last few years.
‘The medication has pretty much destroyed my immune system. During COVID I’ve
had to avoid people most of the time. It’s been awful.’
The medication makes the pain bearable most of the time, but when I have a flare-up it’s a struggle to do anything. Some days my joints are burning hot, stiff and swollen. I find it very hard to walk. I can’t put my car key into the ignition Karen
Karen says she will be first in line to test a new medical device under development at the Bionics Institute to provide a drug-free treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Karen’s niece Dr Sophie Payne is leading the research at the Bionics Institute, which could help her aunt in the future.
Dr Sophie Payne and her team have developed a device that uses electricity to stimulate a nerve in the body that triggers the body’s natural healing response to the damaging inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
The new treatment, which would remove the side effects caused by drug treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, will move into clinical trials soon.
Learn more about our rheumatoid arthritis research here.