Bristol-Myers Squibb CompanyLife and Style Expert Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade approach to cooking, which involves using 70 percent store-bought items and 30 percent homemade items in every meal, makes life easier for millions of busy Americans. Unknown to most, Lee's signature style was strongly influenced by her grandmother, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic, progressive disease of the immune system that causes joint damage as well as chronic pain, stiffness, swelling and fatigue.

"RA made cooking difficult for my grandma, and I recently met with people who also experience the same challenges because of their RA," said Lee, who is working with Bristol-Myers Squibb, makers of the RA treatment ORENCIA® (abatacept), and the Arthritis Foundation, to launch the I Can with RA in the Kitchen campaign. "In fact, in a recent Roper telephone survey of 128 people with moderate-to-severe RA who were not responding well enough to their current medication, nearly 60 percent of those who cook or help cook said they find it difficult to do so. My grandma developed shortcuts and other ways to continue cooking, and her resourcefulness inspired me to offer recipes and tips that may help people with RA who find it difficult to do things like prepare meals for their families or to host a small dinner party with friends," continued Lee.

ORENCIA is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate-to- severe RA who have not been helped enough by other medications for RA.

Lee's RA-friendly kitchen organization ideas and cooking tips are available at The Web site also includes a broad range of recipes - from 20-minute meals to healthy feasts - and a self-assessment tool to help patients track how RA is affecting their ability to perform everyday activities. This tool can also be used to help guide conversations between patients and their rheumatologists to determine an optimal treatment plan. The recipes and self-assessment tool on are printable and free-of-charge.

"RA can severely impact a person's health-related quality of life. In addition to preparing meals, patients living with RA may have trouble doing everyday activities like washing their hair, getting dressed or committing to social functions, even if they are being treated for the disease," said Nurse Practitioner Patricia Daul, RN, CCRC, Executive Director of Clinical Services, Buffalo Infusion Center. "Often, patients with RA who may not be satisfied with their current treatment plan think they need to live with the physical and emotional effects of the disease, but that's not always the case. Their treatment may not be working well enough for them, and they may want to speak to their healthcare professional about other treatment options."

Additional results from the survey showed that 60 percent of this group of respondents say that they still experience pain, swelling and stiffness daily, and 66 percent say that the physical and non-physical symptoms of RA limit their ability to perform daily activities from a fair amount to a great deal. Cooking-related tasks such as opening jars and gripping things also prove difficult, and 56 percent of respondents say their RA symptoms have taken some, most or all of the joy out of cooking.

"One of our goals is to help make cooking easier for people with RA, to help them do the things they need and want to do in the kitchen and participate in life's little celebrations," Lee said. "Even if they have RA, we want to inspire them to say, 'I can with RA.'"

About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic, chronic, autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation in the lining of joints (or synovium), causing joint damage with chronic pain, stiffness, and swelling. RA causes limited range of motion and decreased function as a result of affected joints losing their shape and alignment.

RA affects about 1 percent of the world's population, including more than two million adults in the United States. In this population, ORENCIA® (abatacept) is indicated to treat adults with moderately to severely active RA who have had an inadequate response to one or more DMARDs. The condition is more common in women than in men, who account for 75 percent of patients diagnosed with RA.

About the Survey
The survey is based on 340 telephone interviews conducted among Americans living with rheumatoid arthritis who were 18 years of age and older. Of this group, 128 interviews were completed with people who have rheumatoid arthritis and who have experienced an inadequate response to some biologic and non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The results reflected in this release represent this patient population of 128 people. All interviews were conducted in March, April and May 2007. GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, part of GfK Custom Research North America, conducted the survey on behalf of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

About ORENCIA® (abatacept)
ORENCIA is a prescription medicine that is used to treat adults with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have not been helped enough by other medicines for RA. A doctor may consider treatment with ORENCIA because the patient's disease is still active even though they may have tried other treatments. ORENCIA can be used alone or with other agents. ORENCIA should not be taken with biologic medications for RA such as Enbrel®, Humira®, Remicade®, or Kineret®.

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About Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company is a global biopharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life. For more information, visit