Research Progress Related to Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis

Investigators at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and at other research centers across the country, many supported by the NIH, are working to understand what causes polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis and to develop new treatment strategies. Current research efforts include the following.

  • More effective and safer therapies are being studied throughout the world. Several large clinical trials are currently underway to find steroid-sparing immunosuppressives that block inflammation caused by giant cell arteritis or polymyalgia rheumatica.
  • Researchers are working to evaluate how long patients need to stay on medications for polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis. 
  • By comparing the DNA of people with the disorders to healthy controls, investigators are searching for gene variants that may raise the risk of polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis.
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis can be difficult to diagnose because there is no specific test for them. Scientists are analyzing the patterns of inflammatory molecules in blood samples from people with the disorders in an effort to find biomarkers that help detect disease or predict outcomes.
  • Researchers are working on optimizing visualization techniques, such as ultrasound, PET/CT, MRI, for diagnosing polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis.

For More Info

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Toll free: 888-INFO-FDA (888-463-6332)
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics


American College of Rheumatology


National Organization for Rare Disorders


Vasculitis Foundation


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