Health and Fitness

Growing Cartilage From Stem Cells

Damaged knee joints might one day be repaired with cartilage grown from stem cells in a laboratory, based on research by Professor Kyriacos Athanasiou, chair of the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering and his colleagues. Using adult stem cells from bone marrow and skin as well as human embryonic stem cells, Athanasiou and his group have already grown cartilage tissue in the lab. Now they are experimenting with various chemical and mechanical stimuli to improve its properties. Cartilage is one of the very rare tissues that lacks the ability to heal itself. When damaged by injury or osteoarthritis, the effects can be long-lasting and devastating. "If I cut a tiny line on articular cartilage (the cartilage that covers the surfaces of bones at joints), it will never be erased, " Athanasiou said. "It's like writing on the moon. If I go back to look at it a year later, it will look exactly the same." Work that Athanasiou's group began in the early 1990s at Rice University has resulted in the only FDA-approved products for treatment of small lesions on articular cartilage.

Tocilizumab Shows Sustained Efficacy In Rheumatoid Arthritis

PHILADELPHIA - Investigators are reporting that tolicizumab is an effective, long-term treatment option in multiple subgroups of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. These include patients who have an inadequate response to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD-IR), patients who have an inadequate response to anti-TNF inhibitors (TNF-IR), and patients who have not failed methotrexate. The new results were announced at the 2009 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Scientific Meeting. Joseph S. Smolen, MD, chairman of the rheumatology department at the Medical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues presented 3.5-year data in 3, 986 patients. Tocilizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody to the interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor that inhibits IL-6 binding to its receptor, thus preventing IL-6 mediated proinflammatory activity. The efficacy and safety of tocilizumab in RA patients for up to one year has been demonstrated in phase 3 trials and for up to 2.

CombinatoRx'S Synavive CRx-102 Maintains Efficacy Throughout 12 Month Phase 2 Knee OA Extension Trial

CombinatoRx, Incorporated (NASDAQ: CRXX) announced the results of a 12 month knee osteoarthritis (OA) Phase 2 extension trial for Synavive™ (CRx-102) at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2009 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. The data demonstrated that Synavive-treated subjects maintained efficacy levels throughout the 12 month extension trial. These findings further support the core study data, which was presented at EULAR in June 2009, in which knee OA efficacy was observed early in treatment and sustained throughout the three month core study in all WOMAC measurement subscales including pain, physical function and stiffness. Synavive is a novel dissociated glucocorticoid product candidate designed to enhance the anti-inflammatory benefits of glucocorticoids, without associated side effects. Synavive contains the cardiovascular agent dipyridamole and a very low dose of the glucocorticoid prednisolone and is being developed as a uniquely engineered oral, once-daily formulation.

Therapeutic Advances In Musculoskeletal Disease Launched By SAGE

SAGE has announced the launch of Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease, the latest in SAGE's highly-regarded Therapeutic Advances series. Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease is for all professionals concerned with research into, and the practice of, musculoskeletal disease and is a forum for all views on related subjects. The journal offers rapid peer review and publication, with manuscripts published online within 7 weeks of acceptance. The editors welcome original research and review articles of latest advances in the treatment of arthropathies and other joint disorders, systemic connective tissue disorders, dorsopathies, soft tissue disorders, osteopathies and chondropathies. Editor in Chief, Philip Sambrook OAM, has published over 270 peer reviewed papers including invited editorials in the New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal and The Lancet. In addition he is the current President of the Australian & New Zealand Bone & Mineral Society, on the Committee of Scientific Advisors of The International Osteoporosis Foundation, and on the Board of the International Bone and Mineral Society.

TNF-Alpha Inhibitors Will Continue To Dominate First- And Second-Line Biologic Therapy For The Treatment Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Through 2011

Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors will continue to dominate first- and second-line biologic therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in the United States through 2011, but the more established branded drugs such as, Centocor Ortho Biotech's Remicade, Abbott's Humira and Amgen/Wyeth's Enbrel, in this class will face competition from newer entrants. The decline in use for these established drugs will stem from physicians increasing their use of UCB's Cimzia and Centocor Ortho Biotech's Simponi and prescribing only one TNF-alpha inhibitor before moving out of the drug class completely. "Rheumatologists we surveyed prefer to prescribe Enbrel as a first-line biologic compared with either Humira or Remicade and they tell us that this pattern will continue through 2011, " stated Cindy Fung, Ph.D., analyst at Decision Resources. "In terms of total prescriptions, approximately one-half of the rheumatologists we surveyed anticipate a decline in their use of Remicade and one-third project a decline in their total use of Enbrel and Humira, stemming in part from physicians projecting an increase in the use of new agents in the TNF-alpha inhibitor class.

UAB Creates National Network To Advance Personalized Medicine In Rheumatoid Arthritis

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is spearheading an effort to create a national database and repository to enable researchers to identify predictors of effectiveness of various treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis. Many effective medications exist, but they vary greatly in cost and side effects, and there is no way to predict which drug will work best on an individual. A two-year, $3.3 million Grand Opportunity (GO) grant from the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and funds from the national office and the Alabama chapter of the Arthritis Foundation will establish the Treatment Efficacy and Toxicity in Rheumatoid Arthritis Database and Repository (TETRAD). Led by UAB with 10 participating sites, TETRAD will create a large, sustainable database of treatment-response data and a repository of accompanying samples of DNA and blood cells from RA patients starting treatment with different drugs.

Advancing Personalized Medicine In Rheumatoid Arthritis

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is spearheading an effort to create a national database and repository to enable researchers to identify predictors of effectiveness of various treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis. Many effective medications exist, but they vary greatly in cost and side effects, and there is no way to predict which drug will work best on an individual. A two-year, $3.3 million Grand Opportunity (GO) grant from the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and funds from the national office and the Alabama chapter of the Arthritis Foundation will establish the Treatment Efficacy and Toxicity in Rheumatoid Arthritis Database and Repository (TETRAD). Led by UAB with 10 participating sites, TETRAD will create a large, sustainable database of treatment-response data and a repository of accompanying samples of DNA and blood cells from RA patients starting treatment with different drugs.

The Why And The How Of The Benefits Of Fish Oils

New research from Queen Mary, University of London and Harvard Medical School has revealed precisely why taking fish oils can help with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. In a paper published in Nature *, researchers describe how the body converts an ingredient found in fish oils into another chemical called Resolvin D2 and how this chemical reduces the inflammation that leads to a variety of diseases. The research also suggests that Resolvin D2 could be the basis for a new treatment for diseases including sepsis, stroke and arthritis. Unlike other anti-inflammatory drugs, this chemical does not seem to suppress the immune system. The researchers, who were funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign, the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health, looked at a particular ingredient of fish oils called DHA. They were able to show how the body converts DHA into Resolvin D2 and discover its exact chemical structure. Mauro Perretti, Professor of Immunopharmacology at Queen Mary, University of London, led the UK team.

Link Between Pain Thresholds, Inflammation And Sleep Problems In Arthritis Patients

Despite recent advances in anti-inflammatory therapy, many rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients continue to suffer from pain. Research published in BioMed Central's open access journal, Arthritis Research & Therapy found that inflammation is associated with heightened pain sensitivity at joint sites, whereas increased sleep problems are associated with heightened pain sensitivity at both joint and non-joint sites. Researchers from the Division of Rheumatology and Pain Management Center of Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Center of the University of Michigan Medical School, assessed experimental pain sensitivity, disease activity, sleep problems and psychiatric distress in 59 women with RA. The researchers used questionnaires to assess the women's sleep problems and psychiatric distress and measured the levels of C-reactive protein as an indicator of disease activity. They also measured pain sensitivity with pressure pain threshold testing at joint and non-joint sites.

ArGentis Acquires Rights To Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapy Entering Phase I Clinical Trial

arGentis Pharmaceuticals, LLC announced that it will collaborate with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Memphis (VAMC) to initiate the first human clinical evaluation of an oral altered peptide ligand (APL), ARG301, in a Phase I study of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. ARG301 is a synthetic peptide, which in animal studies appears to down regulate autoimmunity to Type II collagen (CII), a known autoantigen in RA. Investigators at the UTHSC and Memphis VAMC developed the therapy and have received a Clinical Merit Review Grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct the trial. "Due to its unique mechanism of action and compelling preclinical data, we are hopeful that ARG301 will offer a novel therapeutic approach for rheumatoid arthritis, " said Tom I. Davis, II, Chief Executive Officer of arGentis. "In continuing our partnership with UTHSC and University of Tennessee Research Foundation, arGentis is very pleased to add this promising oral therapeutic consistent with our autoimmunity R&D approach.

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