The biologic drug bortezomib a proteasome inhibitor used for multiple myeloma may represent a promising treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, based on a new study conducted by Greek investigators.
In research done in rats with adjuvant-induced inflammatory arthritis mimicking rheumatoid arthritis (RA), bortezomib reportedly displayed favorable effects in reducing disease severity and inflammation.
Given the lack of options for poor responders and the increased risk of infections and malignancies with available biologic agents for RA, there is a great need for novel therapies that are safe and effective. Evangelia Yannaki, MD, the lead investigator of the study, stated in a press release. The research appeared in Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Yannaki and colleagues explored bortezomib as a treatment because it targets multiple pathways. Since the drug also inhibits nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-KB), which controls genes involved in inflammation and the immune response to infection, the investigators hypothesized that bortezomib may improve auto-immune conditions like RA which are characterized by chronic inflammation.
Our research showed that bortezomib is a useful treatment in targeting critical cell populations involved in development of inflammation and autoimmunity in RA, Yannaki stated in the release.
She noted that the drug needs to be explored in clinical setting.
The definitive role of biologic agents in treating this difficult-to-cure population has yet to be defined in prospective trials comparing the available therapeutic options, Yannaki stated in the release.
Yannaki E, Papadopoulou A, Athanasiou E, et al. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib drastically affects inflammation and bone disease in a rat model of adjuvant-induced arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. Published online: October 29, 2010. Doi: 10.1002/art.27690.