Adding Calcitonin to other OA Drugs May Improve Results


Preclinical data suggests calcitonin may have synergistic effects in combination with other drugs.

Calcitonin, a peptide hormone that inhibits bone resorption, may have synergistic effects in combination with other drugs in reducing the collagen degradation associated with osteoarthritis, according to preclinical data.

Calcitonin is manufactured by Tarsa Therapeutics, Inc. and Unigene Laboratories, Inc. The data are from a study designed to identify whether the combination of salmon calcitonin and other recognized and experimental anti-arthritis drugs can produce additive or synergistic effects in reducing collagen degradation in a bovine in vitro collagen matrix model.

“The impetus for this study is the fact that osteoarthritis is a complex, multi-modal disease, so combination therapy may be the most effective approach to treatment,” said. James P. Gilligan, chief scientific officer of Tarsa, in a press release. “We hypothesized that a potentially disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug such as calcitonin given in combination with other anti-arthritic agents might result in additive or synergistic effects.”

The data revealed that when combined with low doses of each of two other experimental anti-arthritis agents, calcitonin exhibited synergistic effects in reducing collagen degradation. None of the agents reduced collagen release on their own at the concentrations used.

“While preliminary, these data lend support to the concept that calcitonin may have a role in reducing cartilage degradation and bone loss as part of a combination therapy for treating osteoarthritis,” said Dr. Nozer Mehta, vice president, Biological Research and Development at Unigene, in a press release. “In addition, in our studies the synergistic effects were achieved using low doses of the compounds. This type of combination therapy may have the potential to treat osteoarthritis more effectively while reducing the safety concerns associated with higher doses of existing anti-arthritis agents."

The data will be presented at the 2010 Osteoarthritis Research Society International World Congress in Brussels, Belgium, Sept. 23-26. The annual OARSI Congress is a global forum for those interested and involved in osteoarthritis research and treatment. It is being held in Brussels, Belgium.

Unigene produces Fortical nasal calcitonin product for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis and Tarsa's oral calcitonin, which is licensed from Unigene.

Tarsa Therapeutics is developing an oral formulation of calcitonin for the treatment of osteoporosis. It is currently only available in injectable and intranasal formulations. The availability of an oral formulation may generate wider use of the established osteoporosis treatment, according to the manufacturer.

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