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      Drug repurposing to improve treatment of rheumatic autoimmune inflammatory diseases

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          Abstract

          The past century has been characterized by intensive efforts, within both academia and the pharmaceutical industry, to introduce new treatments to individuals with rheumatic autoimmune inflammatory diseases (RAIDs), often by 'borrowing' treatments already employed in one RAID or previously used in an entirely different disease, a concept known as drug repurposing. However, despite sharing some clinical manifestations and immune dysregulation, disease pathogenesis and phenotype vary greatly among RAIDs, and limited understanding of their aetiology has made repurposing drugs for RAIDs challenging. Nevertheless, the past century has been characterized by different 'waves' of repurposing. Early drug repurposing occurred in academia and was based on serendipitous observations or perceived disease similarity, often driven by the availability and popularity of drug classes. Since the 1990s, most biologic therapies have been developed for one or several RAIDs and then tested among the others, with varying levels of success. The past two decades have seen data-driven repurposing characterized by signature-based approaches that rely on molecular biology and genomics. Additionally, many data-driven strategies employ computational modelling and machine learning to integrate multiple sources of data. Together, these repurposing periods have led to advances in the treatment for many RAIDs.

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          Most cited references 194

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          Effect of interleukin-6 receptor inhibition with tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (OPTION study): a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial.

          Interleukin 6 is involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis via its broad effects on immune and inflammatory responses. Our aim was to assess the therapeutic effects of blocking interleukin 6 by inhibition of the interleukin-6 receptor with tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In this double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel group phase III study, 623 patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis were randomly assigned with an interactive voice response system, stratified by site with a randomisation list provided by the study sponsor, to receive tocilizumab 8 mg/kg (n=205), tocilizumab 4 mg/kg (214), or placebo (204) intravenously every 4 weeks, with methotrexate at stable pre-study doses (10-25 mg/week). Rescue therapy with tocilizumab 8 mg/kg was offered at week 16 to patients with less than 20% improvement in both swollen and tender joint counts. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with 20% improvement in signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis according to American College of Rheumatology criteria (ACR20 response) at week 24. Analyses were by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00106548. The intention-to-treat analysis population consisted of 622 patients: one patient in the 4 mg/kg group did not receive study treatment and was thus excluded. At 24 weeks, ACR20 responses were seen in more patients receiving tocilizumab than in those receiving placebo (120 [59%] patients in the 8 mg/kg group, 102 [48%] in the 4 mg/kg group, 54 [26%] in the placebo group; odds ratio 4.0 [95% CI 2.6-6.1], p<0.0001 for 8 mg/kg vs placebo; and 2.6 [1.7-3.9], p<0.0001 for 4 mg/kg vs placebo). More people receiving tocilizumab than those receiving placebo had at least one adverse event (143 [69%] in the 8 mg/kg group; 151 [71%] in the 4 mg/kg group; 129 [63%] in the placebo group). The most common serious adverse events were serious infections or infestations, reported by six patients in the 8 mg/kg group, three in the 4 mg/kg group, and two in the placebo group. Tocilizumab could be an effective therapeutic approach in patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis. F Hoffmann-La Roche, Chugai Pharmaceutical.
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            Infliximab for the treatment of fistulas in patients with Crohn's disease.

            Enterocutaneous fistulas are a serious complication of Crohn's disease and are difficult to treat. Infliximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody to tumor necrosis factor alpha, has recently been developed as a treatment for Crohn's disease. We conducted a randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of infliximab for the treatment of fistulas in patients with Crohn's disease. The study included 94 adult patients who had draining abdominal or perianal fistulas of at least three months' duration as a complication of Crohn's disease. Patients were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: placebo (31 patients), 5 mg of infliximab per kilogram of body weight (31 patients), or 10 mg of infliximab per kilogram (32 patients); all three were to be administered intravenously at weeks 0, 2, and 6. The primary end point was a reduction of 50 percent or more from base line in the number of draining fistulas observed at two or more consecutive study visits. A secondary end point was the closure of all fistulas. Sixty-eight percent of the patients who received 5 mg of infliximab per kilogram and 56 percent of those who received 10 mg per kilogram achieved the primary end point, as compared with 26 percent of the patients in the placebo group (P=0.002 and P=0.02, respectively). In addition, 55 percent of the patients assigned to receive 5 mg of infliximab per kilogram and 38 percent of those assigned to 10 mg per kilogram had closure of all fistulas, as compared with 13 percent of the patients assigned to placebo (P=0.001 and P=0.04, respectively). The median length of time during which the fistulas remained closed was three months. More than 60 percent of patients in all the groups had adverse events. For patients treated with infliximab, the most common were headache, abscess, upper respiratory tract infection, and fatigue. Infliximab is an efficacious treatment for fistulas in patients with Crohn's disease.
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              Adalimumab, a fully human anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in patients taking concomitant methotrexate: the ARMADA trial.

              To evaluate the efficacy and safety of adalimumab (D2E7), a fully human monoclonal tumor necrosis factor alpha antibody, in combination with methotrexate (MTX) in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) despite treatment with MTX. In a 24-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 271 patients with active RA were randomly assigned to receive injections of adalimumab (20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg subcutaneously) or placebo every other week while continuing to take their long-term stable dosage of MTX. The primary efficacy end point was the American College of Rheumatology criteria for 20% improvement (ACR20) at 24 weeks. An ACR20 response at week 24 was achieved by a significantly greater proportion of patients in the 20-mg, 40-mg, and 80-mg adalimumab plus MTX groups (47.8%, 67.2%, and 65.8%, respectively) than in the placebo plus MTX group (14.5%) (P < 0.001). ACR50 response rates with the 20-mg, 40-mg, and 80-mg adalimumab dosages (31.9%, 55.2%, and 42.5%, respectively) were significantly greater than that with placebo (8.1%) (P = 0.003, P < 0.001, and P < 0.001, respectively). The 40-mg and 80-mg doses of adalimumab were associated with an ACR70 response (26.9% and 19.2%, respectively) that was statistically significantly greater than that with placebo (4.8%) (P < 0.001 and P = 0.020). Responses were rapid, with the greatest proportion of adalimumab-treated patients achieving an ACR20 response at the first scheduled visit (week 1). Adalimumab was safe and well tolerated; comparable numbers of adalimumab-treated patients and placebo-treated patients reported adverse events. The addition of adalimumab at a dosage of 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg administered subcutaneously every other week to long-term MTX therapy in patients with active RA provided significant, rapid, and sustained improvement in disease activity over 24 weeks compared with MTX plus placebo.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Rheumatology
                Nat Rev Rheumatol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1759-4790
                1759-4804
                December 12 2019
                Article
                10.1038/s41584-019-0337-0
                31831878
                © 2019

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