TARGET is a multi-center, randomized clinical trial aimed at understanding how different treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affect cardiac inflammation. We hope that the results of this trial will improve cardiac outcomes in patients with RA by bringing to light if and how RA medications influence heart health.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes joint damage and disability. Over the past two decades, remarkable progress has been made in the treatment for RA. Many outcomes have been improved, yet mortality rates among RA patients remain 1.5-3 fold greater when compared to individuals without RA. The leading cause of excessive deaths in RA is cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is believed that the enhanced vascular inflammation associated with RA also leads to accelerated atherosclerosis and CV events, although more research is required to support this hypothesis. If this is the case, then potentially RA-specific therapies that reduce joint inflammation may also reduce CVD risk in this population.
The primary goal of the TARGET Trial (Treatments Against RA and Effect on FDG PET-CT) is to examine vascular and joint inflammation by FDG PET/CT in RA patients with inadequate response to methotrexate (MTX) monotherapy. We will compare inflammation among two groups receiving two common treatment options for patients with RA. One group will receive tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) + MTX. The other will be treated with triple therapy (MTX + sulfasalazine [SSZ] + hydroxychloroquine [HCQ]).
TARGET is a multi-center, randomized trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aiming to enroll 200 patients from 40 different sites across the United States and Canada. Enrolled patients will be followed for 6 months. Enrollment is set to begin March 2016.