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Medical News and Perspectives
December 26, 2007

Investigational Drug Slows Bone Erosion

JAMA. 2007;298(24):2856. doi:10.1001/jama.298.24.2856

While most patients with rheumatoid arthritis seek therapies that decrease joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, rheumatologists stress that preventing bone erosion—which is generally irreversible—is equally important.

Now researchers report that bone erosion can be reduced by denosumab, a monoclonal antibody being studied in a number of clinical trials across a range of conditions. Denosumab inhibits a molecule that is important for the bone-resorption function of osteoclasts, receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) (Bekker PJ et al. J Bone Miner Res. 2004;19[7]:1059-1066). Results from a phase 2 study indicated that the drug shows promise for increasing bone mineral density and decreasing bone resorption in postmenopausal women with low bone mass (McClung MR et al. N Engl J Med. 2006;354[8]:821-831).

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