Features June 2007 Issue

Protein ‘Signatures’ May Yield New Arthritis Strategies

Your molecular makeup, rather than pain symptoms, may someday produce more effective joint-pain treatments.

Doctors have always relied on telltale signs to diagnosis arthritis. Traditionally, they have been large-scale clues such as joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. But better technology is gradually moving the diagnostic hunt to the molecular level. New techniques are being developed that can scan your blood, determine which proteins are present and, based on the "protein signature" found, tell the doctor what type of arthritis you have, and which drugs will work best to relieve it.

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