About this Research Topic
Autoimmune rheumatic diseases are a group of diseases characterized by abnormal immune responses against different tissues and organs of the body. Altered immune responses include dysregulation of cell death, complement cascade activation, inflammation, activation of self-reactive immune cells leading to an uncontrolled release of cytokines and a great variety of autoantibodies. Examples of such diseases include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis (SSc), Sjogren’s syndrome (SS), polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM) and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), and additionally spondyloarthropathies (SpA), often showing extra-articular manifestations. All of these represent conditions ranking among the leading causes of death and disability. Given the involvement of several organs, the mechanisms underlying these diseases are not always clearly identified and therefore a great number of studies is aimed at their elucidation. Similarly, various are the pharmacological options for these diseases - drugs used in these contexts include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents and various biologic drugs mainly consisting of monoclonal antibodies directed against cytokines or cell receptors. A challenge is also represented by tailoring therapy to specific patients’ needs.
In the last few years, conventional immunosuppressive therapies – characterized by an often unspecific mechanism of action and complicated by frequent and serious side effects – are gradually but consistently being replaced with biologic agents in autoimmune rheumatic (RA, SLE, SSc, SS, PM, DM, APS) and inflammatory rheumatic diseases (SpA). In contrast to traditional immunosuppressive strategies, biologic drugs show selectivity of action towards specific targets and are currently employed to induce remission or treat specific organ involvements in autoimmune rheumatic and related diseases and inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Nevertheless, in some cases, biologic drugs have failed to meet their primary end-points in randomized-controlled trials, especially in complicated diseases such as SLE and SSc. This has led to further changes to therapies currently used, development of new approaches, as well as the urgent need to identify biomarkers of response to therapy. The latter should be particularly relevant in identifying patients potentially susceptible to the effects of the therapy.
The scope of this Research Topic is to provide a forum for an updated overview on the progress and advances in the research of new biomarkers of response to biologic drugs in autoimmune rheumatic and inflammatory rheumatic diseases and their potential role as indicators of personalized treatment options. We welcome manuscripts reporting Original Research clinical data, validity processes, methodological aspects on predictive biomarkers of treatment response. Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Perspectives and Opinions are also welcome to complete insight into current and new available predictive biomarkers.
Keywords: Autoimmune rheumatic diseases, inflammatory rheumatic diseases, biologics, biomarkers, response to therapy
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