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Terence Rooney, MD: Innovative Aspects of Future-Facing Research in Psoriatic Arthritis

Terence Rooney, MD, explains the innovative research methods that Janssen utilizes and the benefits of precision medicine in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis.

Rheumatology Network interviewed Terence Rooney, MD, to discuss the innovative research methods that Janssen utilizes, presented at the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) 2022 conference. Rooney is Vice President, Rheumatology and Maternal-Fetal Immunology Disease Area Stronghold Leader at Janssen.

“We are delighted to showcase our more innovative aspects of future-facing research in rheumatology,” Rooney stated. “For instance, we used artificial intelligence and machine learning to look at all patients with psoriatic arthritis in variety of our trials and asked the machines to look at different types of patients based on how they might respond to different treatments using standard outcome measures like minimal disease activity.”

Preliminary data indicated that different patients had different types of responses to therapies, validating the need for and benefits of precision medicine. “Psoriatic arthritis is one disease, but it has many different subtypes,” Rooney explains. “In fact, even to patients who are clinically identical, or similar in terms of, for instance, the number of pattern of joints that they might have involved, could have subtly different (and maybe not so subtly different) biology underlying that disease pattern. In other words, for one patient, they may have one cytokine, or aspect of the inflammatory cascade, driving their disease. And the drivers of the other patient's disease, who looks similar to the patient, could be a bit different. If you could understand that and untangle it, you might be able to target the different treatments available for these diseases to the right patient at the right time, rather than how we currently manage disease, which is more of a trial-and-error basis.”

Another aspect Janssen is focusing on is helping patients and healthcare practitioners manage their patients by developing outcome measures that can be used in the clinic in practical ways. “Some of the research that we presented at EULAR was looking to take existing outcome measures, like the psoriatic arthritis disease activity score (PASDAS), that doctors can use to score disease activity in their patients,” Rooney explained. Their goal is to refine these measures to make them more practical and easier to use without compromising accuracy and the ability to capture the symptoms that matter to patients.

“We're in a place where we're determining how these medicines might best be used and we’re sharing detailed information about the attributes of those medicines, including their benefits and risks,” Rooney concluded. “We're also developing newer medicines that might raise the bar further in the future. So, I would like to share that a lot has been done, but there’s more to do, and it's great to be part of.”