According to a story from BioSpace, the biopharmaceutical company Cerecor Inc., has recently announced that it has restarted operations of its phase 1b clinical trial. This trial is evaluating the company’s investigational therapy CERC-002 as a possible treatment for adult Crohn’s disease patients who do not respond to anti-TNF medications. Cerecor is focused on the development of treatments for orphan and rare diseases.
About Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease which can impact any area of the digestive tract. The cause of the illness is not well understood, but a combination of environmental, genetic, bacterial, and immune system factors could play a role; smoking tobacco appears to increase risk. The disease is often identified in the teen years or early adulthood. While abnormal immune system behavior is also present, it is not considered an autoimmune disease. Symptoms include weight loss, abdominal distension, bowel obstruction, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, fatigue, and inflammation spreading to other areas (eyes, joints, etc.). Patients are at an elevated risk of cancer impacting the digestive tract. Treatment includes changes to diet, stopping smoking, steroids, immunosuppressants, and certain surgical operations. Symptoms tend to relapse and remit, and some patients are able to life mostly normal lives. However, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease and treatment must continue for life. Patients have a slightly reduced life expectancy. To learn more about Crohn’s disease, click here.
The trial was able to begin moving forward again after the lifting of the moratorium preventing elective endoscopy, which was implemented in response to the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Cerecor projects that topline data will be available early next year.
CERC-002 is classified as anti-LIGHT (homologous to Lymphotoxin, exhibits inducible expression and competes with HSV glycoprotein D for binding to herpesvirus entry mediator, a receptor expressed on T lymphocytes) monoclonal antibody. LIGHT is a cytokine that has inflammatory properties and is specifically linked to controlling immune activity in lung and digestive tract. The experimental drug is also being developed as a treatment for severe Crohn’s disease with pediatric onset and is also being tested as a therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) triggered by a cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients.