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The aetiology of systemic, autoimmune, chronic inflammatory diseases--such as rheumatoid arthritis--is not known, and their pathogenesis is complex and multifactorial. However, progress in the characterization of intercellular mediators--proteins that are now known as cytokines--has led to the realization that one cytokine, tumour-necrosis factor (TNF; previously known as TNF-alpha), has an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. This discovery heralded a new era of targeted and highly effective therapeutics for rheumatoid arthritis and, subsequently, other chronic inflammatory diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Rev Immunol

Publication Date





364 - 371


Antibodies, Monoclonal, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Chronic Disease, Clinical Trials as Topic, Cytokines, Female, History, 20th Century, Humans, Male, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha