Kyung Hee University Hospital in Gangdong said Monday that its research team proved TNF inhibitors could heal damaged hip joints and improve coordination of ankylosing spondylitis patients who also have hip arthritis.
|Professor Lee Sang-hoon|
The findings from the study, led by Professor Lee Sang-hoon from the hospital’s department of rheumatology is significant as it is the world’s first case to suggest the possibility of using a non-invasive method to regenerate inflamed joints, illustrating that arthritis can be treated without artificial joint surgery, it said.
TNF inhibitors are drugs that suppress the physiologic response to tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which is involved in various autoimmune and immune-related disorders. The drugs reduce inflammation and stop disease progression. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has currently approved six TNF inhibitors, including Enbrel, Remicade, Humira, and Inflectra, to treat rheumatic diseases.
Although previous studies have proved the removal of inflammation suppresses joint destruction, this is the first case where a non-invasive treatment method led to the regeneration and recovery of destroyed joints.
“We have found new hope for treating arthritis patients through this study,” Professor Lee said. “Actively treating arthritis in the early stages is expected to delay the progression of the disease as well as to regenerate the cartilage, restoring joint function and opening the way for treatment without surgery.”
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine that includes mild to severe pain and stiffness from the neck to the lower back. The disease causes immune cells to attack the joints in the body spontaneously and lead to inflammation.
The inflammation eventually destroys the joint cartilage, making regeneration impossible and irreversible. The hospital noted that early diagnosis is critical, considering that the only treatment in case of damaged joint cartilage is artificial joint surgery.
The Journal of Rheumatology published the study in its November issue last year, the hospital said.
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