A single intravenous dose of stem cell therapy might help rheumatoid arthritis patients for months.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients given a single intravenous dose of Mesoblast’s novel stem cell therapy were still demonstrating therapeutic benefits nine months later, according to new Phase 2 data from the Melbourne, Australia-based company.
While much larger Phase 3 studies are needed to validate the results, the data offer a tantalizing look at what optimized and targeted regenerative medicines could do as the field moves closer to an approval.
The study involved 48 patients that were resistant to frontline TNF-alpha therapies, such as Enbrel, Remicade, and Humira.
While these drugs have revolutionized the field — and generated billions in revenue —around 20-40 percent of patients treated with a TNF inhibitor don’t achieve a significant reduction in symptoms. They’re non-responders. Others become resistant over time or experience adverse events.
When TNF inhibitors are off the table, patients are typically prescribed second-line drugs such as Rituxan. These, however, are not as effective and come with a range of serious side effects.
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