A clinical trial to test a new treatment for Dupuytren's disease has commenced at the Kennedy Institute and Botnar Research Centre. Affecting 4% of the UK population, this disease causes fingers to curl into the palm and can be extremely disabling.
The team led by Professor Nanchahal has already unraveled the molecular mechanisms that initiate and maintain the disease process. The clinical trial will look at the next step - to test a new treatment with anti-TNF, a drug currently approved for use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. If effective, this will represent the first targeted therapy involving a simple injection for patients with early Dupuytren's disease that will preserve hand function and avoid the need for subsequent more invasive treatments such as surgery.
Professor Nanchahal says "this is another exciting example of bench to bedside translation of findings based on tissues from patients".
Currently, there is no approved treatment for early disease. Once patients have established deformities, the diseased tissue is removed surgically or cut using less invasive techniques such as a needle or an enzyme. However, recovery following surgery usually takes several months and recurrence rates with the non-surgical techniques are high.
This research is funded by the Health Innovation Challenge Fund (Wellcome Trust + Department of Health).