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Quest Diagnostics Offers New Rheumatoid Arthritis Panel that Provides Powerful Tool to Help Diagnose Disease

Early Detection Leads to Improved Outcomes for Patients

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, the nation¹s leading provider of diagnostic laboratory testing, information and services, recently announced the availability of a diagnostic panel that offers healthcare providers an accurate tool to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the early stages before the disease progresses into irreversible and debilitating joint damage.

The Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnostic Panel examines rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP), two antibodies that are present in the blood. These antibodies are measured in a patient¹s blood sample at a Quest Diagnostics¹ laboratory.

³Quantitative evidence gained from testing for RF in combination with anti-CCP provides clinicians with powerful information to help them diagnose this debilitating condition,² said Joyce G. Schwartz, MD, Vice President and Chief Laboratory Officer of Quest Diagnostics.

Data published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in 2004 support the use of RF testing in combination with anti-CCP, to meet the need for a sensitive and highly specific test to diagnose RA. The reported sensitivity of RF for RA generally ranges from approximately 60 to 90 percent, while the specificity of anti-CCP for RA is about 90 to 98 percent. Furthermore, a positive anti-CCP measurement provides the greatest prognosis of eventual disease severity in a patient.

³Healthcare providers must have access to a highly specific and sensitive tool to diagnose RA in the early stages before the disease progresses,² said Dr. Schwartz. ³Our Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnostic Panel gives physicians the ability to identify RA and initiate, if necessary, an aggressive course of treatment at an earlier stage of the disease. The use of aggressive therapy may significantly reduce disease progression and joint damage.²

Historically, physicians have diagnosed RA through the sole use of RF testing, clinical evaluation, and the disease classification criteria developed by the American College of Rheumatology. However, criteria that are typically associated with this debilitating condition, including nodule development and bone erosion, are rarely recognized in the early stages of RA.

The Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnostic Panel is available nationwide. For more information, healthcare providers can visit www.questdiagnostics.com.

Source: Quest Diagnostics Ê
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