Painful and challenging to live with, gout has become the focus of a new surge in research.
In just the last few years, more than $97 million has been invested in 213 research projects aimed at helping people manage the debilitating chronic disease. The commitment is exciting for the gout community because, despite its prevalence and impact, the condition has historically been viewed as a low priority.
More than 40 companies are now actively developing therapies. Many are aimed at treating chronic gout, which causes severe and frequent flare-ups that often defy conventional medications. A few of these emerging treatments have already reached advanced stages of federal review.
Among the noteworthy developments:
- Patients who don’t respond to medication might when it’s combined with another drug. Preliminary studies show that combining pegloticase with methotrexate is effective for the subset of chronic gout patients who don’t respond to pegloticase alone. The FDA granted priority review of this expanded use of pegloticase, the only FDA approved biologic for uncontrolled gout.
- An alternative treatment for chronic refractory gout is on the horizon. Some patients develop an immune response to the current standard of care, rendering it ineffective. An innovative enzyme therapy known as SEL-12 that is actively in phase 3 clinical trials could solve that problem.
- Patients could have a new option for lowering uric acid. An investigational drug called ABP-671 was found to lower uric acid levels considerably, according to data released just last month. Excess uric acid causes gout, so having a new oral medication that effectively addresses it would be a major step forward for controlling chronic gout.
The recent uptick in gout research and development is sorely needed. The disease has been surging in the United States and globally since the 1960s. More than 9 million Americans, almost 5% of the population, are affected by gout.
Gout can be debilitating and when it co-occurs with kidney disease, the pair of conditions can be lethal. Patients and clinicians around the world should be encouraged, then, that so much energy is now being focused on new gout treatments.