Numerous biological agents are available for treating autoimmune conditions and a new one being developed by Novartis
Numerous biological agents are available for treating autoimmune conditions. A new one being developed by Novartis, secukinumab, is a fully human monoclonal immunoglobulin antibody that neutralises interleukin-17, a family of receptors involved in the immune response driven by Th helper T lymphocytes. Blocking this activity should have an impact on inflammatory autoimmune conditions, and in vitro studies showed it might have potential in a variety of these, including rheumatoid arthritis, uveitis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriasis.1
Its safety and efficacy have been evaluated in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and non-infectious uveitis.2 The three groups – 104 patients in total – were given a single intravenous infusion of 3–10mg/kg of the antibody, or placebo. The drug gave a clinically relevant response in patients from all groups – 75% of the 36 psoriasis patients achieved a clinically meaningful reduction in inflammation; a rapid clinical response was seen in the 52 rheumatoid arthritis patients, which was maintained for up to 13 weeks after a second dose; and two 10mg/kg doses were comparable in effect to infliximab in the 16 uveitis patients. The researchers suggest that the variable response rates seen may be a result of the different pathogenic roles of IL-17 in the diseases. Adverse events were similar across both treatment and placebo groups. Further trials are underway.
1. M. Kurzeja et al. Am. J. Clin. Dermatol. 2011, 12, 113
2. W. Hueber et al. Sci. Trans. Med. 2010, 2, 52ra72