According to the Arthritis Foundation (Atlanta, GA), studies presented at this year’s American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in Boston (November 14–19) indicate that treatment with secukinumab may turn out to be a promising new therapeutic approach in ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Secukinumab (a fully human antibody to IL-17A), selectively binds to and neutralizes interleukin (IL)-17A, thus, inhibiting the release of other pro-inflammatory mediators and cytokines. Interleukin-17 is an immune ‘hormone’ or cytokine involved in several autoimmune/inflammatory conditions, and a therapeutic target in several common human diseases. In 2013, Baeten D. et al. reported that secukinumab rapidly reduced clinical signs of active ankylosing spondylitis, and was the first targeted therapy that is an alternative to TNF inhibition (Lancet, 2013, 382:1705-13).
Now, and according to 2 recent Novartis’ media releases, secukinumab is the first selective IL-17A inhibitor to meet primary endpoint in Phase III studies showing improvement in active ankylosing spondylitis patients’ symptoms versus placebo; “more than 60% of secukinumab 150 mg patients achieved significant improvements in AS symptoms, seen as early as Week 1 and sustained through one year of treatment”. Of note, up to 40% of patients have an inadequate or no response to standard anti-TNF medicines, currently the only biologic therapies available for ankylosing spondylitis.