According to a story from the Deccan Chronicle, researchers may have discovered a new treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture that could offer substantial benefits over currently available treatment options. The scientists discovered that an injection of adalimumab, an anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drug commonly used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, could shut down the development of the cells that cause the disease.
About Dupuytren’s Contracture
Dupuytren’s contracture is a rare condition that affects the hand. The condition causes one or more fingers of the hand to be permanently flexed in a curled position, towards the palm. While the direct cause is unknown, there are several risk factors, such as being of European descent, family history, being male, old age, alcohol abuse, smoking, below average body mass index, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV, and prior hand injury. Symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture include a thickened nodule in the palm, pain (not always present), itching, and loss of finger mobility. The condition can be debilitating and affects the patient’s ability to write, prepare food, and conduct any other activity that requires precise hand and finger movements. Treatment can involve surgical operations, collagenase injection, and needle fasciotomy. While these treatments can be effective, the condition can sometimes recur after a few years. To learn more about Dupuytren’s contracture, click here.
Why Does Adalimumab Work?
A type of cell called myofibroblasts form into thick cords in the palm of a patient’s hand, which is what forces the fingers to curl. Researchers had previously discovered that TNF can serve to facilitate the development of these cells, which is what led them to test an anti-TNF drug.
A Phase 2 trial involving 28 Dupuytren’s contracture patients that were slated for surgery. Two weeks before their surgery, the patients received an injection of adalimumab.
The researchers analyzed the removed tissue and found that the injection had been able to stop the growth if myofibroblasts. The new treatment could allow for intervention to begin earlier. For patients that choose surgery, they are often forced to wait until the condition progresses before having the operation. This can mean a long period where the patient is forced to deal with decreasing hand function. The recovery period after surgery also means an even longer period before hand function is normal. This new treatment has the potential to help eliminate all of these setbacks.