4 Benefits of a New ACPA Rheumatoid Arthritis Test

IS there a reliable Rheumatoid Arthritis Test?

Kelly & camera shadow at US Capitol One question I often answer is about tests for Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Actually, one of the videos that was lost addressed that question! See Postblog below!) The short answer is “There is no RA test.” RA is diagnosed and monitored based on a combination of tools, including several tests. While there is no one conclusive RA test, tests can be valuable tools – we just need to learn which tests to use and how to interpret them in real patients!

Improved anti-CCP / ACPA test for RA:

Validation of a multiplex chip-based for the detection of autoantibodies against citrullinated peptides

The new test, discussed in a report from Swedish researchers today in Arthritis Research & Therapy, is an improved version of what we know as the anti-CCP test (also referred to by the antibody’s acronym: ACPA). The new test allows for the simultaneous investigation of more than 100 specific antibodies. It is the first version of a new “microarrayed platform” detecting multiple RA-associated autoantibodies, including multiple epitopes of antigens.

Read the brief abstract about the new test here.

4 Reasons a new ACPA Rheumatoid Arthritis test is significant

More specific tests will eventually lead to more accurate diagnoses. Blood tests have been given greater weight than ever: “With the introduction of the new 2010 RA classification criteria, the impact of autoantibody serology has accordingly increased, and can now contribute to half of the points needed to classify a patient as having RA.” More tests will mean better odds for patients for getting the right care.

Personalized medicine is needed for a heterogeneous disease. I don’t need to tell most people who read this blog that people diagnosed with “Rheumatoid Arthritis” vary in patterns of symptoms. That’s about as necessary as telling you RA hurts. We obviously don’t talk very often about how much patients differ on a laboratory level. But, we do. And this new test would take that into account: “Commercial ACPA tests generally aim to collectively identify as many antibodies against citrullinated epitopes as possible. However, on the peptide level, the ACPA response in RA patients has been shown to be heterogeneous, as different RA patients show reactivity against different citrullinated peptides.”

Improving study of causes of Rheumatoid Disease. The test could be useful to analyze “reactivities” that are not covered by conventional ACPA tests, directing researchers to clues about how the disease develops (pathogenesis). “The multiplexed array, for detection of autoantibodies against multiple citrullinated epitopes on candidate RA autoantigens, will be of benefit in studies of RA pathogenesis, diagnosis and potentially as a guide to individualised treatment.”

Guarding future research. This method of testing many antibodies at once uses only minute amount of blood serum. This is important in research because there are often limited supplies of samples that were taken before individuals were diagnosed with RA or from historic sample banks.

MacBook with terracotta casePOSTBLOG: This is my first blog on the new computer. It’s a MacBook. There’s a long sad story about the demise of the data on the pretty Red Dell I used for 3.5 years. After many hours over the past weeks, I recovered all of my data except for the videos. That includes about a half-dozen new videos I’d worked on for a couple of weeks right before the disaster. Caution to anyone using Carbonite: videos are NOT backed up even if you pay for full backup, unless you specifically select them.

Life goes on, including interviews and board meetings with no notes and numerous family needs that have kept me at my usual “wall-to-wall” and “10-feet-deep” busy. I look forward to sharing some of those stories with you. I’m truly more grateful than ever to be able to talk with you here on the blog after not being able to for so long.

Recommended reading

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also http://www.rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

8 thoughts on “4 Benefits of a New ACPA Rheumatoid Arthritis Test

  • October 3, 2012 at 7:14 am

    One Blessing of a Mac to rheumatoid arthritis patient is the ability to dictate anything, anywhere, at any time. If you haven’t found it yet, double tap the function key and you can start to dictate on any place that there is text entry. Not to worry, it gets better the more you use it. It’s unbelievable how much it helps on those days when it hurts to hold a pencil or pen.

    Oh, and loved the article. Very interesting information.

  • October 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

    How is this new and improved test different from the VECTRA test that my doctor relies on? Thanks for everything.

  • October 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    How readily available is this test, and is it likely to be positive in someone who has been Seronegative otherwise? Still no diagnosis and I have had a nasty flare. Woken from sleep by joint pain in my hands, stiffness and swelling too and fever. My first flare since starting 10mg prednisone almost a month ago.

  • October 4, 2012 at 12:41 am

    So glad you are back! You must have been very stressed out. Don’t worry, you will catch up with what needs to be done, everything else can wait.

  • October 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

    What is your opinion on the Vectra test? I understand its pretty new but it seems to show RA activity pretty clearly. Up until now I’ve been Seronegative and I’ve had doctors even doubt the dx. ‘I dont see inflammation’ being the most recent comment, but my Vectra test clearly shows ‘Moderate RA’. (There are only 3 levels, low, moderate, and severe. You can check individual values to determine if you are up one end or the other).

    Everything I’ve read says this test is pretty accurate, and it finally gives me something I can hand a doctor. You may not see inflammation, you may not ‘see RA’ but these are NOT low levels of activity. This IS RA and its got a value of XYZ which means we need to get to work on treatment.

    What do you think?

  • October 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Once the diagnosis is made, what is the best test for judging whether everything is under control or another med is needed. AntiCCP was positive in 2007 and is much higher now. What else should we look at?

  • November 25, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I noticed the time stamp on your posting. You don’t sleep either. Do you problems when approaching a full blown flair, my tells are insomnia, malaise and steadily increasing pain and morning stiffness. Do you know if there are many others who share these symptoms?

    • November 25, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Oftentimes, I finish a post & schedule it to go live a few hours laters – so the time stamp doesn’t show that.
      For your question though – yes, I’ve heard others say what your saying about a flare. For myself, I can’t tell about “flares” since the past 9 years are all the same with several joints in flare & systemic symptoms present, no lull.
      Do you know when a flare is coming ahead of time?


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