JAK inhibitors are the newest and most advanced disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) approved to treat ankylosing spondylitis, or AS.
Medically reviewed by Samir Dalvi, MD
AS occurs when the immune system mistakenly “attacks” the body — commonly the joints and ligaments in the spine — with inflammation, which is triggered by chemicals called cytokines.
Biologics, which have been a mainstay of AS treatment since 2003, target a single inflammatory cytokine, such as TNF-alpha or
IL-17, associated with chronic inflammation.
They target a group of enzymes called Janus kinases, or JAK, that signal the production of more than 60 different cytokines and other inflammatory molecules.
JAK inhibitors work differently.
JAK inhibitors prevent the release of multiple inflammatory molecules, helping to halt the inflammatory process that causes pain and joint damage in people with AS.