May 2014

Merck’s sprifermin slows cartilage loss

A proof-of-concept trial published in April in Arthritis & Rheumatology reported that intra-articular injection of 100µg sprifermin (recombinant human fibroblast growth factor 18), made by Merck Serono S.A. of Geneva, Switzerland, reduced loss of total femorotibial joint cartilage thickness and volume in the lateral knee compartment of patients with knee osteo­arthritis.

Sprifermin is a protein thought to induce chondrocyte stimulation leading to matrix synthesis and chondrocyte renewal.

Swedish investigators at Lund University randomized 192 knee OA patients to single-ascending doses of intra-articular sprifermin injection or placebo (n = 24) or to multiple-ascending doses of sprifermin or placebo (n = 168), administering doses of 10µg, 30µg, and 100µg.

At 12 months, they found no change in central medial femorotibial compartment cartilage thickness in sprifermin-treated patients compared with placebo patients but noted a reduction in loss of total lateral femorotibial cartilage thickness and volume in patients injected with 100µg of sprifermin; the 100µg dose also reduced joint-space narrowing in the lateral femorotibial compartment. Pain scores improved in all patients, with less improvement at 12 months for patients who received the 100µg-dose compared with placebo.

Investigators found no safety or injection-site issues during the trial.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.