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FDA Oks Dupuytren's Contracture Drug

From UPI Science News (February 3, 2010)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has approved the first drug designed to treat a progressive hand disease known as Dupuytren’s contracture.

The FDA said Xiaflex (collagenase clostridium histolyticum) is a biologic injectable drug made from the protein product of a living organism. It works by breaking down the excessive buildup of collagen in one’s hands.

Dupuytren’s contracture can affect the ability to straighten and properly use one’s fingers by altering the connective tissue found beneath the skin in the palm. Too much collagen can build up, forming thick, rope-like cords of tissue that can prevent the fingers from being able to relax and straighten normally. The disorder is most common in Caucasians and in men more than 50.

"Before the FDA approved Xiaflex, the only effective treatment for this hand disorder was surgery, which sometimes meant a long recovery and the need for physical therapy for patients," said Dr. Bob Rappaport, director of the FDA’s division of anesthesiology, analgesia and rheumatology. "Since there are no other non-surgical alternatives for Dupuytren’s contracture, Xiaflex will be an important advance in the management of this disabling condition."

Xiaflex is manufactured by Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Malvern, Pa., specialty biopharmaceutical company.

Posted: February 2010