April 12, 2024
Clinical Trial for Hand Osteoarthritis

Breakthrough in Erosion Blockade: Promising Clinical Trial for Hand Osteoarthritis

A clinical trial conducted by researchers at Ghent University Hospital, Ghent University, and VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research has revealed that antibody therapy could potentially be effective against erosive hand osteoarthritis. The study found that the use of the antibody denosumab resulted in bone remodeling and prevented erosive joint damage, signaling the possibility of halting the progression of this disease. Published in Nature Medicine, this research provides the first evidence of a treatment that can address the structural damage caused by erosive hand osteoarthritis.

Erosive hand osteoarthritis is a prevalent type of degenerative disease that primarily affects the finger joints and is characterized by inflammation. This condition significantly impacts quality of life as it leads to the gradual destruction and loss of function in the affected hands. While current therapies can provide relief from symptoms, they do not address the underlying structural damage.

Recent studies have revealed that individuals with erosive hand arthritis also experience other issues. Their bones tend to be thinner, and they experience bone and cartilage loss as the condition progresses, even in areas unaffected by osteoarthritis. This suggests that erosive hand osteoarthritis is not merely a “local” disease but rather a systemic condition affecting multiple areas of the bone.

Led by Prof. Ruth Wittoek from Ghent University, the research team considered the systemic nature of erosive hand osteoarthritis and explored potential treatments. They discovered that the antibody denosumab, which is already used to treat osteoporosis and bone loss associated with cancer, showed promise in reducing erosive progression in rheumatoid arthritis, a type of inflammatory arthritis. These findings supported the hypothesis that denosumab could be effective against erosive hand osteoarthritis.

Prof Gust Verbruggen, co-first author of the study, explained, “Our expectation was that anti-osteoporotic medication could delay structural progression. Therefore, we focused on the impact of denosumab on the progression seen on X-rays in erosive hand osteoarthritis.”

To assess denosumab’s potential, the researchers recruited 100 patients with erosive hand osteoarthritis and randomly assigned them to either a treatment group or a placebo group. The study followed a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial design, which is considered the gold standard for interventional studies.

Over a span of 48 weeks, the patients in the treatment group received injections of 60mg of denosumab every three months, while the placebo group received a placebo injection. At the end of the treatment period, the individuals receiving denosumab demonstrated clear bone remodeling and fewer new joint erosions compared to those in the placebo group. Importantly, the denosumab treatment did not result in additional adverse effects.

Prof. Dirk Elewaut, senior author of the study, commented on the findings, stating, “We provide a proof-of-concept that denosumab can be a valuable tool in the treatment of erosive hand osteoarthritis and show for the first time that inhibiting structural progression is an achievable goal in this disease.”

This breakthrough study highlights the positive effects of denosumab in addressing erosive hand osteoarthritis by promoting bone remodeling and preventing joint erosions. Furthermore, it reinforces the notion that erosive hand osteoarthritis is a systematic disease that requires systemic treatment. These findings have significant implications for the development of potential treatments for this debilitating condition, offering hope to patients suffering from erosive hand osteoarthritis.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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