Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and progressive inflammatory disease that affects the joints, causing a painful swelling that eventually results in bone erosion and joint deformity. It affects 1 to 2 percent of the population, is very painful and severely affects the patients' quality of life. There is no cure for RA, but the disease progression in most patients can be slowed down with anti-inflammatory drugs. The underlying molecular mechanisms that cause the disease have remained largely unclear. Understanding these mechanisms is very important and may help in developing new therapies to treat patients suffering from RA.
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