A drug commonly used to treat psoriasis also blocks the production of proteins that cause inflammation.
--By Jenara Nerenberg
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have concluded that a drug normally used to treat psoriasis—ustekinumab—can
also decrease symptoms associated with Crohn's disease, according to a
new study published in the October 18, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)
Crohn's disease affects 700,000 Americans, and is accompanied by
painful cramping, diarrhea, anemia, and weight loss. In severe cases,
surgery is required to remove the large intestine.
The new study
documents a Phase II Clinical Trial that took place in 12 countries
with 526 patients on the antibody, ustekinumab, which proved able to
block two proteins, interleukin 12 and 23, that lead to inflammation.
The Expert Take
this point in time, ustekinumab remains an investigational therapy
for Crohn’s disease, but the Phase II study results are very promising,
and suggest that ustekinumab could be a future new therapy for this
condition," said William J. Sandborn, MD, lead investigator and chief of UCSD's Division of Gastroenterology.
Source and Method
randomized trial was led by UCSD but held in 12 countries, and included
526 patients who were given ustekinumab over a 36-week period. Six
weeks into the trial, benefits were observed. Phase III induction trials
are now underway. "Our goal is to increase clinical response and put
the disease in remission to improve the patient's quality of life," said
on the results of this study, two Phase III induction studies and one
Phase III maintenance study are currently underway at UCSD and other
medical centers around the world.
has proven helpful to patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease
and who are unresponsive to medications containing tumor necrosis factor
(TNF) inhibitors—medications such as Remicade, Humira, and Cimzia. With
new treatment choices on the horizon, Crohn's patients may have
additional options to treat their painful symptoms.