The FNIH Biomarkers Consortium Launches Study to Identify Cardiovascular Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

July 20, 2017 The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) Biomarkers Consortium has launched a study to identify biological markers (biomarkers) in the blood that will measure a Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patient’s increased risk for cardiovascular disease—the leading cause of deaths in RA patients. RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes pain and loss of mobility, and by developing therapies that decrease joint inflammation it may also reduce cardiovascular risk.

The new TARGET (Treatments Against RA and Effect on FDG-PET CT) Biomarker Study leverages the participants, infrastructure and outcome measures of a multicenter, randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH TARGET trial, which aims to uncover how different treatments for RA affect vascular inflammation, seeks to enroll 200 RA patients from more than 35 U.S. sites. The FNIH study will complement its NIH counterpart by correlating measures of joint and vascular inflammation to protein levels in the blood that could be used to predict cardiovascular disease risk in RA patients.

While remarkable progress has been made in the treatment of RA over the past two decades, mortality rates remain high compared to the general population. Current measures that test for cardiovascular risk do not fully account for the increased risk in patients with RA, especially in women and younger individuals who represent large segments of this patient population. Biomarkers capable of identifying cardiovascular disease risk in RA patients with minimal symptoms, such as those used in the TARGET Biomarker Study, will help improve the design of clinical trials, develop new treatments and be used to reduce mortality among RA patients.

The NIH TARGET trial is supported by NIAMS under award number U01AR068043. For more information, click here.



  • Amgen*
  • Arthritis Foundation
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Columbia University Medical Center
  • Crescendo Bioscience
  • Merck
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
  • Regeneron

*Providing financial support only

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