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Rheumatoid arthritis: Scores for assessing disease activity gaining acceptance in clinical practice and research

Indices developed at MedUni Vienna are now regarded as the international gold standard
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(Vienna, 21 February 2020) Two indices for assessing disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis that have been developed at MedUni Vienna are increasingly regarded as the gold standard in clinical practice and in scientific applications. The "Simplified Disease Activity Index" and the "Clinical Disease Activity Index" record changes, allow a clear distinction between low, moderate and high disease activity, include remission criteria and are simple to use in everyday clinical practice. Most of the revenue generated from copyright royalties is ploughed straight back into rheumatology research at MedUni Vienna.

Daniel Aletaha and Josef Smolen from the Division of Rheumatology of the Department of Medicine III of MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital have been collaborating for years on the research and development of better and simpler instruments for assessing disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis. They developed the "Simplified Disease Activity Index" (SDAI), which is based on the examination of 28 joints, an assessment of disease activity by patient and doctor and measurement of the CRP level. If one were to omit the CRP laboratory value, one then has the even simpler "Clinical Disease Activity Index" (CDAI).

The SDAI and the CDAI reflect disease activity very effectively, record changes, allow a clear distinction to be made between low, moderate and high disease activity, include remission criteria and are easy to use in everyday clinical practice.

Because of these advantages, these scores are now recommended by numerous rheumatology societies and used throughout the world in routine clinical practice as a simple and reliable gold standard. Moreover, the European Medicines Agency (EMA)  has specified these scores as endpoints in clinical trials for rheumatoid arthritis, where they have now been an established component for several years.

Revenue from copyright royalties ploughed back into research
The medical use and commercial utilisation of the copyrighted scores have now become well established and international pharmaceutical companies, large and small, use the instruments developed at MedUni Vienna - in clinical trials, for example. This has generated significant revenue for MedUni Vienna, 70% of which is ploughed straight back into research at the Division of Rheumatology.
MedUni Vienna's Technology Transfer Office is responsible for marketing new technologies (www.meduniwien.ac.at/technologietransfer). It goes without saying that MedUni Vienna does not charge any fee for using the scores in scientific research or in clinical practice.

More information about the scores
The indices (scores) are calculated by adding up the number of swollen joints out of 28 defined joints, the number of joints that are sensitive to pressure out of 28 defined joints, an assessment of disease activity by the patient and doctor using a visual analogue scale (VAS), and the CRP level in the case of the SDAI.

Publications
"Acute phase reactants add little to composite disease activity indices for rheumatoid arthritis: validation of a clinical activity score" in Arthritis ResTher. 2005;7(4): R796-806";

"A simplified disease activity index for rheumatoid arthritis for use in clinical practice" in Rheumatology (Oxford). 2003 Feb;42(2):244-57

"Scores for all seasons: SDAI and CDAI" in Clin Exp Rheumatol 2014; 32 (Suppl. 85): pages 75-79)).

Event: Inaugural lecture: Daniel Aletaha
On 1 July 2019, Daniel Aletaha took over MedUni Vienna's Chair of Rheumatology and management of the Division of Rheumatology at MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital. In his inaugural lecture on 28 February 2020 (11:30 hrs) to be held in MedUni Vienna's Lecture Center in Vienna General Hospital (Level 7), Aletaha will talk about the clinical and scientific fascination of his field of medicine.

Please register at: www.meduniwien.ac.at/antrittsvorlesungen

The symposium "Translational research in the new decade: Rheumatology at the forefront" will follow on from the lecture. » Information