Sprifermin offers benefit for cartilage loss from knee osteoarthritis

April 17, 2014

In a new study in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, at 12 months, total femorotibial cartilage thickness loss was reduced in sprifermin (recombinant human fibroblast growth factor 18)-treated knees compared to placebo-treated knees, with effects being significant in the lateral femorotibial compartment but not in the central femorotibial compartment.

Results published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), showed that sprifermin dosed at 100µg reduced loss of cartilage thickness and volume in the total femorotibial joint and in the lateral knee compartment (outside of the knee).

The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study estimates that OA affects 150 million people around the world, with the ACR reporting 27 million Americans over 25 years of age diagnosed with the disease. While OA is the most common cause of physical disability in older adults, studies suggest that the average age at diagnosis is 55 years. No medication or alternative treatment (glucosamine, chondroitin) has shown positive effects on preventing or reversing the structural changes of joint damage caused by OA.

"Currently, no structure-modifying treatment has been approved by U.S. or European Union regulatory bodies," says lead researcher L.S. Lohmander, M.D., Ph.D., from Lund University in Sweden. "Our trial investigates the safety and efficacy of sprifermin in preventing loss of cartilage due to OA in the knee."

This proof-of-concept double-blind trial recruited 192 knee OA who were randomized to single-ascending doses intra-articular injection of sprifermin or placebo (n= 24) or to multiple-ascending doses of sprifermin or placebo (n= 168). Doses of the drug were administered at 10, 30, and 100μg. Researchers measured cartilage thickness at 6 and 12 months using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); joint space width by x-ray, and pain was scored using the Western Ontario McMaster Universities (WOMAC) OA index.

Of the patients recruited, 180 completed the trial and 168 were evaluated for cartilage changes. At 12 months, researchers found no change in the thickness of cartilage in the central medial femorotibial compartment in patients injected with sprifermin. However, a reduction in loss of total and lateral femorotibial cartilage thickness and volume was noted in patients injected with 100μg of sprifermin versus placebo. Narrowing of the joint space width was also reduced in the lateral femorotibial compartment for OA patients who received the same dose. The WOMAC pain score improved in all patients, with less improvement shown at 12 months for patients who received 100μg sprifermin compared to .

Dr. Lohmander concludes, "While our trial found no reduction in cartilage thickness in the central femorotibial compartment among subjects in the treatment group, dose-dependent reductions in structural changes were found in participants treated with sprifermin." The authors found no safety or injection-site issues with sprifermin. Additional clinical studies will be needed to replicate these findings and confirm the optimal dosing.

Explore further: Glucosamine fails to prevent deterioration of knee cartilage, decrease pain

More information: "Intra-articular Sprifermin (Recombinant Human Fibroblast Growth Factor 18) in Knee Osteoarthritis: Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial." L. Stefan Lohmander, Scarlett Hellot, Don Dreher, Eduard F.W. Krantz, Dawie S. Kruger, Ali Guermazi and Felix Eckstein. Arthritis & Rheumatology; Published Online: April 17, 2014 DOI: 10.1002/art.38614

Related Stories

Glucosamine fails to prevent deterioration of knee cartilage, decrease pain

March 11, 2014
A short-term study found that oral glucosamine supplementation is not associated with a lessening of knee cartilage deterioration among individuals with chronic knee pain. Findings published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a ...

Drink milk? Women who do may delay knee osteoarthritis

April 7, 2014
New research reports that women who frequently consume fat-free or low-fat milk may delay the progression of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Results published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, Arthritis ...

Vitamin D supplementation does not reduce knee pain, cartilage loss in patients with osteoarthritis

January 8, 2013
In a two year randomized trial, patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis who received vitamin D supplementation did not have a significant difference in knee pain or cartilage volume loss compared to patients who received ...

Finger length a 'pointer' to Osteoarthritis

March 31, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Our fingers could be more important than we think. New research has revealed that the length of a person's finger could become a 'pointer' to their risk factor in developing osteoarthritis later in life.

Recommended for you

Fluid in the knee holds clues for why osteoarthritis is more common in females

June 26, 2017
Researchers have more evidence that males and females are different, this time in the fluid that helps protect the cartilage in their knee joints.

Biologics before triple therapy not cost effective for rheumatoid arthritis

May 29, 2017
Stepping up to biologic therapy when methotrexate monotherapy fails offers minimal incremental benefit over using a combination of drugs known as triple therapy, yet incurs large costs for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ...

Drug for refractory psoriatic arthritis shows promise in clinical trial

May 24, 2017
In a pivotal phase-3 clinical trial led by a Stanford University School of Medicine investigator, patients with psoriatic arthritis for whom standard-of-care pharmaceutical treatments have provided no lasting relief experienced ...

Cross-species links identified for osteoarthritis

May 17, 2017
New research from the University of Liverpool, published today in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, has identified 'cell messages' that could help identify the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis could be prevented with good diet and exercise

May 12, 2017
Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.

Rodents with trouble walking reveal potential treatment approach for most common joint disease

May 11, 2017
Maintaining the supply of a molecule that helps to nourish cartilage prevented osteoarthritis in animal models of the disease, according to a report published in Nature Communications online May 11.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.