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Diana Abdueva, PhD, states selecting the right therapy for rheumatoid arthritis is a complex challenge due to both the economic burden of therapies and the trial-and-error process patients often undergo.
In an interview with HCPLive, Diana Abdueva, PhD, CEO and founder of Aqtual, discussed her study “A Novel Blood-Based Assay Differentiates Seropositive and Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis from Healthy Individuals and Those with Other Inflammatory Diseases or Osteoarthritis,” presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s 2023 Convergence in San Diego, California.1
According to Abdueva, selecting the right therapy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex challenge, posing difficulties for patients, clinicians, and payers due to both the economic burden of therapies and the trial-and-error process patients often undergo.
On average, a patient with RA changes therapy every 8 months, highlighting the lack of biomarkers predicting the patient's response to a specific therapy. Aqtual is pioneering the development of the first test for RA therapy selection across multiple drug classes. The recent American College of Rheumatology (ACR) presentation represents a significant milestone, revealing a platform capable of accessing tissue-specific signals from the synovium through a simple blood draw.
This technology mirrors advancements in oncology, where blood-based therapy guidance has reduced the need for invasive biopsies. While this marks the first step, ongoing clinical trials aim to predict therapy response across different drug classes, with a long-term vision of launching a test capable of predicting responses for patients with RA across various drug classes by Q1 2025.
Beyond RA, the company envisions expanding into other autoimmune conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and lupus, showcasing a broader impact on chronic diseases. Emphasizing the company's commitment to patient-reported outcomes (PRO), efforts are underway to integrate PRO considerations into the development cycle, recognizing their importance in enhancing the understanding and impact of the test. As the company progresses, strong research and PRO integration will be prioritized over the next 12 months.