Emily Duggan

Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Publications (5)23.45 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background Whilst efficacy of combination treatment with methotrexate (MTX), sulfasalazine (SSZ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) (“triple therapy”) has been shown in clinical trials, few studies have examined its longevity in a real-life setting.AimsOur aim was to assess the tolerability, longevity and efficacy of a triple disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) regimen initiated in new-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.Methods Patients who met 1987 ACR criteria for RA with disease duration less than two years were offered triple therapy upon diagnosis. Treatment was intensified according to a response-driven step-up algorithm, which included progression to leflunomide (LEF) or a biologic agent.ResultsOf 181 new-onset RA patients, 119 commenced triple therapy. Median duration of triple therapy was 39 weeks and 23.5% remained on it at last follow-up, with median follow-up 104 weeks. Continuous therapy with any three-DMARD combination (including LEF) occurred in 32% at last follow-up, with median duration of 70 weeks. Cessation of at least one of MTX, SSZ or HCQ occurred due to an adverse event in 38%, remission in 7% and incomplete response in 28% of patients. SSZ accounted for 49% of initial drug withdrawals for an adverse event. Continuation of three-drug therapy did not significantly influence the proportion of patients achieving remission or low disease activity (LDA).Conclusions Triple therapy in new-onset RA was reasonably well tolerated, persisting for median 39 weeks. SSZ intolerance commonly reduces longevity of triple therapy. Treating to the target of remission or LDA is more important than the number of DMARDs continued.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Internal Medicine Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cohorts have analysed treatment response and prognostic factors at fixed time points. However, in treat-to-target protocols, therapeutic decision-making is dynamic and responsive to disease activity over time. To determine when a minimal residual disease response target should be expected, our primary objective was to identify the time-dependent therapeutic response to combination disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) for 12 months. Our secondary objective determined factors affecting this response trajectory. Observational cohort. Treat-to-target early RA clinic in Australian tertiary referral hospital. We enrolled consecutive patients attending an early arthritis clinic with symptom duration less than 12 months, who were diagnosed with RA for the first time between 2004 and 2008. 101 met these eligibility criteria and data were available at baseline through 12 months. intensive DMARDs according to a treat-to-target protocol. We measured disease activity scores (DAS) at each visit, then analysed therapeutic response and associated factors in a time-dependent fashion over 12 months. The median DAS4vESR of 4.46 at baseline decreased 12 weeks later by 24%, while the proportion with DAS4v ≤ 2.6 increased (p<0.01). DAS4v continued to decrease over 52 weeks. DAS4v reduction of at least -0.45 at 4 weeks was predictive of DAS4v at 28 and 52 weeks. Female gender, current smoking, primary education and an interaction between baseline weight and C reactive protein (CRP) negatively impacted DAS4v reduction over 4 and 52 weeks. Time-varying effects of blood pressure, neutrophils, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and CRP also significantly influenced DAS4v over 52 weeks. Time-dependent data suggest that the largest reduction of DAS4v to combination DMARDs occurs in the first month of therapy, and this predicts subsequent response. Variables known to impact long-term treatment response in RA also impacted early DAS4v response to combination DMARDs.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · BMJ Open

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Clinical Immunology
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    ABSTRACT: The effectiveness of tolerizing immunotherapeutic strategies, such as anti-CD40L or dendritic cells (DCs), is greater when administered to young nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice than at peak insulitis. RelB(lo) DCs, generated in the presence of an nuclear factor-κB inhibitor, induce T-regulatory (Treg) cells and suppress inflammation in a model of rheumatoid arthritis. Interleukin (IL)-1β is overexpressed in humans and mice at risk of type 1 diabetes, dysregulates Treg cells, and accelerates diabetes in NOD mice. We investigated the relationship between IL-1β production and the response to RelB(lo) DCs in the prediabetic period. We injected RelB(lo) DCs subcutaneously into 4- or 14-week-old NOD mice and tracked the incidence of diabetes and effect on Treg cell function. We measured the expression of proinflammatory cytokines by stimulated splenocytes and unstimulated islets from mice of different ages and strains and proliferative and cytokine responses of T effectors to Treg in vitro. Tolerizing RelB(lo) DCs significantly inhibited diabetes progression when administered to 4-week-old but not 14-week-old mice. IL-1β production by NOD splenocytes and mRNA expression by islets increased from 6 to 16 weeks of age when major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted islet antigen presentation to autoreactive T-cells occurred. IL-1 reduced the capacity of Treg cells to suppress effector cells and promoted their conversion to Th17 cells. RelB(lo) DCs exacerbated the IL-1-dependent decline in Treg function and promoted Th17 conversion. IL-1β, generated by islet-autoreactive cells in MHC-susceptible mice, accelerates diabetes by differentiating Th17 at the expense of Treg. Tolerizing DC therapies can regulate islet autoantigen priming and prevent diabetes, but progression past the IL-1β/IL-17 checkpoint signals the need for other strategies.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Diabetes
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    ABSTRACT: NF-kappaB inhibitors applied to animal models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) demonstrate the important role of NF-kappaB in the production of mediators of inflammation in the joint and their antiinflammatory effects. Because NF-kappaB is involved in the differentiation, activation, and survival of almost all cells, its prolonged inhibition might have unwanted adverse effects. Therefore, we sought to apply NF-kappaB inhibitors more specifically, targeting dendritic cell (DC) differentiation, in order to influence the outcome of the autoimmune response, rather than to produce a broad antiinflammatory effect. We tested whether DCs treated with the NF-kappaB inhibitor BAY 11-7082 and exposed to arthritogenic antigen would suppress established arthritis in C57BL/6 mice. Antigen-induced arthritis was generated in C57BL/6 mice by injection of methylated bovine serum albumin (mBSA). After mBSA challenge, mouse knee joints were injected with antigen-exposed BAY 11-7082-treated DCs or with soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor (sTNFR). Intraarticular injection of interleukin-1 (IL-1) was used to induce disease flare. Inflammation and erosion were suppressed in mice that received mBSA-exposed BAY 11-7082-treated DCs, but not in those that received keyhole limpet hemocyanin-exposed BAY 11-7082-treated DCs. Clinical improvement was dependent on IL-10 and was associated with antigen-specific suppression of the delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction and switching of anti-mBSA antibody isotype from IgG2b to IgG1 and IgA. Suppression of the DTH reaction or arthritic disease was not impaired by concomitant administration of sTNFR. Suppression could be reversed with intraarticular administration of IL-1beta and could be restored by a second injection of mBSA-exposed BAY 11-7082-treated DCs. BAY 11-7082-treated DCs induce antigen-specific immune suppression in this model of inflammatory arthritis, even after full clinical expression of the disease. Such DCs have potential as antigen-specific therapy for autoimmune inflammatory arthritis, including RA.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2007 · Arthritis & Rheumatology

Publication Stats

85 Citations
23.45 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • Translational Research Institute
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • 2010-2013
    • University of Queensland
      • Diamantina Institute
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • 2007-2010
    • Princess Alexandra Hospital (Queensland Health)
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia