Thursday, September 30, 2010

Novel Drug Tanezumab

Courtesy of my OA Google Alert.

"Sometimes pain is good in protecting you."

So this is kind of cool.  Pfizer is developing a drug that inhibits something called Nerve Growth Factor.  NGF is something that helps your nervous system develop but is also released where there is inflammation, like in an arthritic knee.  The NGF binds to the cells which cause pain.  Inhibit NGF = less pain.  (As I understand it)  Neat idea.  It's novel therapy, meaning no other drug works this way so obviously I'm interested.

Not so neat is the FDA halting Phase III because too many people had to under go TKRs.  I'm thinking that if you are that desperate for pain relief, you are headed down the path to the TKR anyways, it's just how fast you get there.   The linked line above is why I don't really push it... I want to preserve what I have for as long as I can.  At 33, every day counts.  I'll need to read more to see what the FDA's issue is.  Perhaps there is more to the degeneration than what the drug company/researchers are saying.   They believe that the degeneration is due to more activity because the knee doesn't hurt.  I totally get that.  But maybe there is some other sort of damage going on?  Like I said need to read more as I am totally interested in this possible treatment.  But having worked in Pharma I know it's still years down the road if at all.

Less than three weeks till my next shot.  My current 11:11 wish involves it lasting the 6 months...  I do worry though that when my knee doesn't hurt that I am doing damage.  You use it without thinking about it, like it's "normal" even.  But it's not.  Only when the pain wears off and you cringe with each step to you think, hey, my body is telling me something.

Original Article in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for passing this along! I will be doing some research too. Chronic pain is such a profound disability, one which does not make weight loss or maintaining any easier, to say the least. (But I don't need to tell you that!) It certainly is a barrier I hear about a lot from people, including patients, who want to lose weight but who believe that regular exercise is a requirement. And for some, it may be.

"The Pain Chronicles" by Melanie Thernstrom is on my to-buy list. I read a review that quoted her: "[When chronic pain is not treated effectively], the whole nervous system rewires itself to transmit pain more efficiently--and the pain grows." I think she has a point, and the implications frighten me.


Sarah said...

Original article in the NEJM is here added to bottom of the post. :)

NewMe said...

I live with chronic discomfort in my knee. Sometimes, it borders on pain. The minute I do any exercise that involves my knee (bike, ellliptical), it hurts. One minute's exercise and I can feel it for days. I can walk and that's mostly what I do, plus very gentle yoga.

I am considering some sort of knee surgery. There are other things besides TKR. I hope to be seeing a surgeon soon. The whole thing is an incredible drag. It's so disheartening to not be able to do any vigorous exercise (I now can't swim either, long story...).