A new study outlines a chemical compound with potential for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects an estimated 1.3 million people in the world. Characterized by stiff, swollen joints, it’s a progressive disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells. Inflammation in the lining of the joints leads to loss of bone and cartilage. People who have rheumatoid arthritis lose mobility and joint function without adequate treatment.