Singh receives $7.6 million in research funding for rheumatoid arthritis study

The study is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Environmental head shot of Dr. Jasvinder Singh, MD (Professor, Immunology/Rheumatology) in white medical coat, 2018.Jasvinder Singh, M.D.Jasvinder Singh, M.D., has received $7.6 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to study the effectiveness of the two most commonly used drug classes for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The study will examine patients who do not respond to methotrexate, the first-line therapy for RA. The two drug classes researchers will focus on are biologics and targeted synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.

Singh, professor of medicine in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, and his team will compare how the drugs affect patient-reported outcomes with the hope of choosing the best course of treatment for the patient.   

“Our goal is to find whether and how these drug classes differ from each other with regard to their effects on different aspects of patient experience, such as physical function, sleep, fatigue, treatment satisfaction, function and work productivity,” Singh said. “We expect these medications to have a similar effect on some of these outcomes but be better or worse on the other outcomes. This information can inform the provider and the patient in the future about the choice of the best/better drug for each patient, depending on the most important symptom/effect from their RA.”

This study will be among the first real-world effectiveness studies comparing the two drug classes to each other. 

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and give people information to help them weigh the effectiveness of their care options,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, M.D. “We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with UAB to share the results.”

Singh’s study was selected for PCORI funding through a highly competitive review process in which patients, clinicians and other stakeholders joined clinical scientists to evaluate the proposals.

“We are excited that PCORI has chosen this important question to be answered for people with RA, a condition that leads to significant impact on a person’s quality of life, function, work and at-home productivity, and their lives,” Singh explained. “Studies such as these that focus on the quality-of-life impact of chronic diseases are important to do and highlight that quality of life may be just as important to people as the length of their lives.”