The Rheumatology Network interviewed James Woody, MD, PhD, to discuss recent positive results from treating Dupuytren’s disease with tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Woody is the CEO of 180 Life Sciences.
Dupuytren’s disease, a localized autoimmune fibrotic process, begins as a lump in the palm of the hand and moves the fingers together over time until they twitch. The wasting disease, if left untreated, can render patients unable to perform common tasks, such as tying their shoes, and may ultimately lead to surgery to correct the condition.
Current treatment plans use a “wait and see” approach until there is a finger twitch. Unfortunately, at this time, the patient is already struggling with a disability. “My wife went through that with an entire year of steroid injections, which did nothing,” Woody said.
Jagdeep Nanchahal, BSc, PhD discovered that these unusual cells, called myofibroblasts, were driven by the cytokine TNF. When he injected these nodules with anti-TNFs, Nanchahal was able to block this process and potentially prevent disease progression.
In the recent phase 2b trial, 140 patients received 4 injections of anti-TNF or placebo 3 months apart. The main criterion was the hardness of the nodule and its evolution after 1 year. The investigators found that the nodules were much softer after the anti-TNF injections. The nodule was still softer at 9 months after the last dose. The secondary endpoint was whether the nodule had increased in size. The results indicated that at 12 months his height had decreased by 39% and continued to decrease by 52% at 18 months. This is clinically significant because “some studies show that the size of the nodule over time predicts whether or not a person will have contracted fingers,” says Woody.
See the full interview below: