Scientists Discover Potentially Game-Changing Treatment for Dupuytren Disease
The disease affects patient’s hand, bending fingers firmly into the palm and deforming them. It was found to be more common in people of European descent.
Scientists have found a drug that could reverse Dupuytren's disease if applied during the early stages of the illness.
The drug in question, Adalimumab, is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, but a clinical trial conducted by scientists at Oxford’s Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology has proven its apparent effectiveness against Dupuytren's.
“We are very keen to pursue this,” Professor Jagdeep Nanchahal, a surgeon leading the trial, told The Guardian. "This is a very safe drug and its important patients can access treatment if it’s likely to be effective.”
The finger-bending condition named after the French surgeon Baron Dupuytren is dubbed "the Viking disease" as it mostly occurs in people of northern European ancestry, with men suffering more than women.
“The problem for patients with bent fingers is that they interfere with daily living: putting your hand in your pocket, putting gloves on, and it can be hard to use a keyboard, and even drive,” Nanchahal said.
The trial involved volunteers receiving one injection of Adalimumab every three months for a year. This led to a reduction in their lumps (which form due to immune cells in the hand driving the production of fibrotic scar tissue) for nine months after the final injection.
In the event of the effect waving off, Nanchahal said it was possible for a patient to come back for another round of four injections.
The new way to treat Dupuytren's could prevent amputations. Scientists are waiting to consult with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency before implementing their findings in UK health centres.