Pilot Study to Evaluate Cosentyx in Bone Health of AS Patients

Ashraf Malhas, PhD avatar

by Ashraf Malhas, PhD |

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A pilot study will investigate how Cosentyx (secukinumab), which has been approved for some autoimmune disorders, affects bone health in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

The upcoming study — titled “The Effects of Secukinumab on Bone Health and Metabolism” — is currently recruiting and will look at the effects of Cosentyx on the bones of 20 adults with ankylosing spondylitis.

Cosentyx, developed by Novartis, has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of adults with plaque psoriasis (in 2015), and ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis (in 2016).

The compound specifically targets interleukin-17A, a protein produced by the immune system and that is involved in inflammation. By targeting this protein, Cosentyx can protect the body from bone loss by both minimizing bone resorption and promoting bone formation.

The study, based at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City, is expected to last for two years, and primary findings will be released throughout the study period.

Participants will undergo tests to assess bone density, growth, and resorption using a variety of techniques, including X-ray imaging and testing for known markers of bone health. Researchers will also test for various markers for bone growth and resorption, as well as inflammation.

“It’s very important to get a better understanding in a practical way of the effect of these drugs on bone metabolism. This study should really help us understand how they work,” Susan M. Goodman, MD, a rheumatologist at the HSS and lead researcher of the study, said in a press release.

This is beneficial for AS patients, where about 25% of patients suffer from fragile bones (osteoporosis) and, consequently, bone fractures. This percentage is significantly higher than the prevalence of osteoporosis in the general population, which is around 10%.

Medications such as bisphosphonates, calcium, and vitamin D, which can be used to prevent bone fractures in patients with other autoimmune diseases, do not work as well in ankylosing spondylitis patients.

“Those drugs don’t seem to be as helpful as you’d think they would be in this population of patients,” Goodman said.

For more information about the study, email HSS clinical research manager Carey Ford at [email protected].