This week in therapeutics




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Autoimmune disease

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Transforming growth factor b1 (TGFb1; TGFB1); TGFb receptor II

Patient sample and rodent studies suggest inhibiting TGFb1 signaling in bone could help treat OA. Subchondral bone samples from patients with OA showed elevated TGFb1 levels compared with samples from healthy controls. In a mouse model for OA, deletion of Tgfbr2 decreased severity of OA symptoms compared with no deletion. In a rat model for OA, an antibody that blocks Tgfb signaling improved bone architecture compared with vehicle. Next steps include clinical trials to evaluate inhibitors of TGFb1 signaling.
InterMune Inc., Ildong Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Shionogi & Co. Ltd. market Esbriet pirfenidone, a small molecule inhibitor of proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a) and IL-1b, as well as profibrotic cytokines including platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) and TGFb

At least 11 other companies have compounds that inhibit TGFb1 in Phase II or earlier testing to treat various diseases.

SciBX 6(23); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.570
Published online June 13, 2013

Patent application filed; available for licensing


Zhen, G. et al. Nat. Med.; published online May 19, 2013;
Contact: Xu Cao, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.