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ACR: Ankylosing Spondylitis Protein Marker Identified

New discovery could change approach to treatment

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In ankylosing spondylitis patients, the protein marker matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP3) is a significant predictor of joint damage, according to a paper presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting held Nov. 10-15 in Washington, D.C.

Walter P. Maksymowych, M.D., of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues conducted a study of eight serological biomarkers already implicated as independent predictors of rheumatoid arthritis, and assembled complete data on 100 patients.

Only two biomarkers -- human cartilage glycoprotein-39 (YKL-40) and MMP3 -- had a weak to moderate correlation with two-year progression of ankylosing spondylitis, and only MMP3 remained as a marker with significant association with two-year progression after adjustment for sex, age and disease duration. The association was strongest in those who had pre-existing radiographic damage.

"With this biomarker we can now target patients at highest risk for joint damage and in greatest need for effective therapy," Maksymowych said in a statement. "Being able to predict disease activity and damage in ankylosing spondylitis patients can lead to more aggressive treatment when the disease is active and more aggressive."


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