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Tanezumab Shows Promise For Knee Pain

Tanezumab Shows Promise For Knee Pain, UC Davis study says [The Sacramento Bee, Calif.]

From Sacramento Bee (CA) (September 30, 2010)

Sept. 30--UC Davis researchers and other scientists say clinical trials of tanezumab, hailed by some as a potential new wonder drug, showed substantial promise in relieving knee pain -- with few side effects -- among subjects with moderate to severe osteoarthritis.

The results of the study, published in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, are the latest development in the controversy over the drug -- which was put on clinical hold earlier this summer by its manufacturer because of concerns by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Longer-term studies have indicated that, among some patients, tanezumab could worsen osteoarthritis, a painful and sometimes debilitating joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis.

Certainly, the drug needs further study, according to Dr. Nancy Lane of the UC Davis Medical Center, one of the lead authors of the new study.

Even so, the drug showed substantial success, she said, in reducing pain among the study’s 450 participants, some from the capital area.

"When you see these kinds of differences, you really have to take a deep breath, because the pain reduction was two to three times greater than any other treatments for osteoarthritis," said Lane, director of the UC Davis Center for Healthy Aging.

"We’re only understanding how good of an analgesic it is."

Tanezumab blocks proteins produced by inflamed or injured tissue that generate the sensation of pain when they reach sensory nerves.

Natalia Corich, 63, of Penn Valley, led an active life before a fall aggravated the osteoarthritis in her left knee. She faced the immediate prospect of having to have a knee replacement until she learned about the clinical trials at UC Davis in 2007.

When she was taken off the drug, the pain became unbearable and she eventually had her knee replaced in February 2008.

Other pharmaceutical companies are in the race to produce similar drugs, but Pfizer, which is developing tanezumab, has set the pace.

The study conducted by Lane’s group was funded by Rinat Neuroscience Corp., now a subsidiary of Pfizer.


Call The Bee’s Bobby Caina Calvan, (916) 321-1067.

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Posted: September 2010