Main Article Content
The introduction of biological agents has been a major turning-point in the treatment of rheumatic diseases, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis. This review describes the principle milestones that have led, through the knowledge of the structure and functions of nucleic acids, to the development of production techniques of the three major families of biological agents: proteins, monoclonal antibodies and fusion proteins. A brief history has also been traced of the cytokines most involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory rheumatic diseases (IL-1 and TNF) and the steps which have led to the use of the main biological drugs in rheumatology: anakinra, infliximab, adalimumab, etanercept and rituximab.
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