MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. dr. D.L.P. Baeten MD
Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology
Academic Medical Center
University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Prof. Baeten: Ankylosing spondylitis is a debilitating rheumatic condition which affects young adults and with NSAIDS and TNF inhibitors as only therapeutic option. Over the last years, we generated evidence that IL-17 is an important inflammatory mediator in this condition. In the two studies reported here in the NEJM, we demonstrate that IL-17 inhibition with secukinumab has a very profound and long-lasting effect on signs and symptoms as well as inflammation in ankylosing spondylitis patients, even in those patients that failed a TNF blocker before.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Prof. Baeten: IL-17 blockade with secukinumab is a new, powerful addition to our treatment armentarium for ankylosing spondylitis. It can be used both as first line biologic drug after NSAIDs and as second line drug after failure upon a TNF blocker. Secukinumab has an excellent safety profile.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Prof. Baeten: We recently generated evidence that IL-17 blockade with secukinumab does not only block inflammation but, in contrast to TNF blockers, may also inhibit progression of structural damage (new bone formation leading to deformities) in ankylosing spondylitis. Future research should confirm these findings, as this would mean that IL-17 blockade has the potential to become state-of-the-art treatment in ankylosing spondylitis. Moreover, we should try to establish which patients may benefit most from IL-17 blockade versus TNF blockade in order to optimally use these both classes of drugs.
Prof. dr. D.L.P. Baeten (2015). Immunotherapy with IL-17 Blocker Secukinumab Improves Ankylosing Spondylitis