Backgrounder: Selected Medicines in Development for Musculoskeletal Disorders

Backgrounder: Selected Medicines in Development for Musculoskeletal Disorders

Lupus affects at least 1.5 million Americans and 90 percent of lupus patients are women, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.  In lupus, the body develops antibodies (immune system proteins) that react against normal tissue, leading to inflammation, pain, tissue injury and major organ damage.  A new monoclonal antibody in development targets  B-cells that produce antibodies against the body’s own cells and tissue.  In lupus patients, these B-cells cause the immune system to turn on itself, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans, according to the Arthritis Foundation.  It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage – the part of a joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement. As cartilage deteriorates, bones begin to rub against one another.  A potential first-in class medicine in development for pain associated with osteoarthritis is an inhibitor of a gene encoding protein that plays a role in inflammatory pain. 
Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans – 10 million people already have the disease and another 34 million people have low bone density, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones, according the National Osteoporosis Foundation.  A medicine in development for osteoporosis is an oral, once-weekly inhibitor of a protease enzyme that is involved in the metabolic breakdown of elastin, collagen and gelatin in the body, causing the deterioration of bone and cartilage. 
Psoriatic Arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the skin (psoriasis) and joints (arthritis).  Studies show that between 10-30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.  A medicine in development for psoriatic arthritis is an oral inhibitor of an enzyme that is elevated in patients with this disease.  The medicine targets the intracellular signaling pathways that operate as hubs in the anti-inflammatory cytokine network.  The medicine is also being studied in rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. 
Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1.3 million people in the United States, according to the Arthritis Foundation.  Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive, systemic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the membrane lining the joints.  A medicine in development for rheumatoid arthritis inhibits two types of an enzyme that are key components in signaling activation of cytokines and growth factors that are elevated in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.  

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