Scientists unveil new arthritis wonder drug claiming it halts bone loss, increases cartilage
Tuesday, 03 October 2017

The new drug has excited scientists after trials showed that after just six months it reduced bone damage around knee joints and also maintained cartilage thickness.

It is the first time a drug has been shown to tackle underlying bone structure changes in diseased joints.
Current treatments have aimed only at helping patients manage pain symptoms.
The pan-European study was carried out over six months with 244 patients aged between 40 and 80 with osteoarthritis in the knee.

Lead investigator Philip Conaghan, Professor of Musculoskeletal Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: "These results are enormously exciting.
"This drug heralds a new dawn in the treatment of this disease as it is the first evidence we have of a drug which can have a significant benefit on the structure of the bone."

Professor Conaghan, previously chairman of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence group on the management of osteoarthritis, added: "We now need larger studies to replicate these findings, the results of which we hope will open up a new class of drug."

The treatment, known as M1V-711, is based on a molecule involved in the turnover of bone and cartilage in the joints. It works by interfering with the process that leads to joint breakdown.

It was tested against patients given a placebo and after six months those receiving the treatment showed a 65 per cent reduction in bone loss.

Those on the dummy pills showed slight increases in bone loss. The drug, which was shown to have relatively few side effects, also halted cartilage loss, with those on low doses experiencing a 70 per cent reduction in cartilage thickness and those on higher doses showing a slight increase in cartilage thickness.

Experts hope over a longer period the results may be greater, and could have an impact on significantly reducing pain from the condition.

The results of the trial are likely to be revealed next month at a conference in San Diego.

The news comes as experts call for an end to the widespread long-term use of painkillers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen for osteo arthritis, following research showing they may be doing more harm than good.

Current guidance from Nice still recommends paracetamol and anti-inflammatories as treatments for this disabling condition.

However, in one large US study people who regularly took paracetamol over 12 years had a 35 per cent increased risk of a stroke or fatal heart attack.

Other recent studies have linked long term use of anti-inflammatory drugs to an increased risk of stomach ulcers and kidney failure.


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