Janet Pope, MD: Rheumatoid Areas in Most Need of Research

September 27, 2019
Patrick Campbell

While conferences and annual meetings are often the place clinicians are exposed to new data, there are often niche areas where they seek further guidance or information. Janet Pope, MD, discusses where she would like to see more research dedicated.

At the Clinical Congress of Rheumatology (CCR) West 2019 annual meeting, like most meetings, late breaking trials and new clinical research typically dominate conversations on the exhibit floor.

Yet, despite the plethora of impactful research disseminated at these meetings, many clinicians are often left with the desire to have seen further research in particular areas.

As a practicing rheumatologist and professor of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, Janet Pope, MD, is one of many in the field of rheumatology who are constantly seeking information on the effectiveness of standard therapies and new data on diseases and potential treatments.

For Pope, who commended all the researchers and clinicians presenting information at this year’s meeting, there is still areas she would like to see more time and resources dedicated towards. One specific area she is hoping to see further research in is individualized treatments for rheumatic conditions.

MD Mag: What areas in rheumatology would you like to see a greater focus in terms of research?

Pope: So, we do need a lot of research in many areas in rheumatology and I think some things that have been highlighted lately are really thinking about personalized medicine. So, the right patient getting the right drug at the right time and we see a lot of patients, especially in rheumatoid arthritis, that a drug is doing great whatever they're on. There are DMARDs that are conventional, synthetic, or a biologic, or small molecule and then it stopped working and we say "That's a curveball didn't see that happening".

So, I think knowing who would respond is great, but if they do respond maintaining that response. On average, a lot of our drugs in rheumatoid especially, but a little bit less so in psoriatic arthritis, and even a bit less so of attenuating response in (ankylosing spondylitis). They cycle 40% of people are off a drug that was probably effective by 2 years and we have a lot of disease to treat. So, I think sort of get designer medicine of really personalizing it.