A wide-ranging body of new data about the protein 14-3-3 eta will be presented during the European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) Annual Congress of Rheumatology taking place June 11–14, in Paris.
At the EULAR conference, investigators will display 10 distinct poster presentations and abstracts based on the findings of studies performed using the 14-3-3 eta blood test by Augurex Life Sciences Corp, Vancouver. Together with previously published study findings, the EULAR presentations represent studies involving more than 2000 patients evaluated with the 14-3-3 eta blood test.
The groundbreaking presentations come on the heels of a recent publication describing the novel mechanism by which the protein 14-3-3 eta promotes disease.1
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a particularly debilitative form of arthritis affecting about 1.5% of the population. It develops from an interplay of several factors that lead to inflammation and joint damage. Many of these factors have been known for decades, with the 14-3-3 eta protein representing the most novel discovery of the past 7 years.
The 14-3-3 eta protein is normally present inside cells, in all humans. In patients who develop certain forms of arthritis, however, 14-3-3 eta appears outside the cell and causes numerous harmful effects, implicating it directly in the disease process.
According to Quest Diagnostics, which offers the test, “the 14-3-3 eta protein appears to contribute to the pathologic process of joint erosion and, as such, is an emerging biomarker of joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis. Concentrations are significantly higher in people with active joint disease than in those with inactive RA or psoriasis without arthritis. Measurement of 14-3-3 eta complements RF [rheumatoid factor] and CCP [cyclic citrullinated peptide] antibody tests and may improve diagnostic sensitivity.”
“This protein is a scientist’s dream because before its discovery in 2007, no one knew that it played a role in arthritis,” says Anthony Marotta, PhD, cofounder and chief scientific officer at Augurex. “It’s not only exciting for Augurex and our international investigators to uncover the ways in which it causes disease, but also for patients and the rheumatology community at large.”
Marotta expects that 14-3-3 eta, and its related blood tests, will address many autoimmune conditions that risk joint involvement, ultimately helping prevent disease development and progression. “We can’t wait to see what the world learns from this protein through international research and clinical use,” he adds.
“The body of evidence is now growing at such a rapid rate that we are seeing applications emerge in autoimmune diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, where there are no useful diagnostic blood tests available,” says Walter Maksymowych, MD, medical research professor of medicine and rheumatologist at the University of Alberta, international chair of the outcomes measures in rheumatology clinical trials soluble biomarker subcommittee, and principal investigator for several 14-3-3 eta studies.
“This protein can potentially change our perspective of disease mechanisms and open up a whole new area of research that could improve the lives of these patients,” adds Maksymowych.
The 14-3-3 eta blood test is available in the United States and will launch in Canada in the coming months. For further information, including a complete list of the 14-3-3 eta presentations at the EULAR congress, visit Augurex Life Sciences Corp.
1. Maksymowych WP, van der Heijde D, Allaart CF, et al. “14-3-3? is a novel mediator associated with the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and joint damage.” Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014 (16): R99; doi:10.1186/ar4547; available from Internet: http://arthritis-research.com/content/16/2/R99.