New study shows benefits of rheumatoid arthritis drug sirukumab
Published on 04 April 2014 New study shows benefits of rheumatoid arthritis drug sirukumab
A new clinical trial has underlined the benefits of a promising new therapy option for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The two-part phase II study was led by the Medical University of Vienna in Austria and aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of sirukumab - an anti-interleukin-6 monoclonal antibody - among patients who continued to be affected with active rheumatoid arthritis despite prior methotrexate therapy.
In the first part of the trial, 36 patients received either sirukumab or a placebo/sham treatment every fortnight for ten weeks, with crossover treatment during weeks 12 to 22. Meanwhile, part two saw 151 subjects receive either sirukumab for a full 24 weeks, or were given a placebo for ten weeks before switching to sirukumab for the remainder of the study period.
Results published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases revealed that 26.7 per cent of sirukumab patients were able to meet the study's primary response rate goal, in terms of improvement in tender or swollen joints and other symptoms such as pain and disability. This compared to only 3.3 per cent of those in the control group.
Moreover, greater improvements in disease activity levels were seen at week 12 with sirukumab across both parts of the trial, while the incidence of adverse events was shown to be similar for sirukumab-treated and placebo-treated patients across the entire trial, thus underlining its safety.
The researchers concluded: "Sirukumab-treated patients experienced improvements in the signs/symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Safety results through 38 weeks were consistent with other IL-6 inhibitors."
Welcoming the study's results, a spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK said it would be interesting to see how the drug performed in a phase III trial, which would involve a considerably larger number of patients.