In this health video learn how the drug improved symptoms in 50% of patients who didn't respond to other Rheumatoid Arthritis medications.
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Jennifer Matthews: For 35 years, just walking was a struggle for Barbara D'Amico. Barbara D'Amico: Sometimes I didn't sleep, it was so painful. Jennifer Matthews: Barbara has rheumatoid arthritis, a disease where her immune system attacks her joints. She used to take up to 20 pain pills a day. Barbara D'Amico: Physically, I feel like it's a broken bone that never heals. It's just a constant ache. Jennifer Matthews: But today, Barbara is feeling better than ever. Thanks to a new treatment she received as part of a clinical trial. That treatment is called abatacept and it's given through an IV. The drug works by stopping a signal that activates the body's T-cells. Rheumatologist Mark Genovese says standard treatments can lose their benefit over time, but abatacept works when others have failed. Dr. Mark Genovese: For many patients, it means they'll have a better quality of life. They'll be able to function better. They'll have a better emotional state. Jennifer Matthews: In a clinical study, half of the patients who took abatacept reported relief. Dr. Mark Genovese: It is a huge benefit to believe that you can get 50% of your patients to have a significant improvement in their disease when in affect; they had tried and failed existing therapies in the past. Jennifer Matthews: It's the only therapy that worked for Barbara. A few months ago, exercise was painful, but not today. Barbara D'Amico: I couldn't make a fist. Now, I can make a fist. I can move my arms I couldn't go up like this. Jennifer Matthews: And now she can be as active as she wants. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.