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Method for identifying individuals at high risk of developing arthritis

RA is a chronic autoimmune disease with unknown etiology. Clinically manifest arthritis due to synovial inflammation is the hallmark feature of RA. However, it is not the first sign of disease, as the development of synovial inflammation may be preceded by the presence of disease-specific autoantibodies. Since not all individuals that have RA-specific antibodies progress to full-blown RA, researchers have been searching for highly accurate biomarkers that predict which of these individuals will develop RA in the short term. This will enable development of treatment in a phase of the disease, the “window of opportunity”, where the disease shows better treatment response. Early intervention studies already showed substantial effects in this phase of the disease. Therefore, it is an object of the invention to provide a novel highly accurate biomarker for determining the risk of developing arthritis, or for monitoring the response to a preventive treatment of arthritis in a subject.

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