Peng Thim Fan, MD: Can We Prevent Rheumatic Disease?


Pri-Med West presenter, Dr. Peng Thim Fan asks the questions that many rheumatologists have likely been contemplating now that disease treatment is so successful.

At Pri-Med West 2022, Peng Thim Fan, MD, FACP, Clinical Professor of Rheumatology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, reviewed 3 different case studies in rheumatic disease in his presentation.

The first case study Fan discussed focused on osteoarthritis with rheumatoid arthritis being the second case. Shifting spectrums with the third, Fan detailed the case of a patient with monoarthritis.

Treatments have advanced to the point where rheumatologists can completely manage the symptoms of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis in about 3 years, Fan said in an interview with HCPLive. The progress isn't limited to rheumatoid arthrithis, even the treatment of conditions like lupus and scleroderma have improved drastically.

"We are so effective in treating what, for many, many years have been untreatable," he explained. "For example, rheumatoid arthritis used to be crippling."

In the 1980s, a patient diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis would likely exit the workforce within five years due to disease progression, according to Fan. Now, that's completely changed.

"The whole focus has been on, not just developing new drugs to target new pathways, but also to ask the important question," Fan said. "If you have the genetic background, if you have a mother with crippling arthritis, can we treat you even before the disease starts?"

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