World-renowned Expert Provides Updates On The Negative Impact Of Osteoarthritis Pain In Dogs And Cats And Outlines Exciting New Therapies In Development That Could Provide Benefits To Animals Living With Pain
Zoetis, supported by World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and its Global Pain Council, provides important updates on potential new tools for osteoarthritis pain management to veterinarians worldwide
September 25, 2020 – Dr. Duncan Lascelles, Professor of Surgery and Pain Management at North Carolina State University and Chair of the WSAVA Global Pain Council, in this two-part webinar series, outlined the high prevalence of arthritis in both dogs and cats, the broad negative impact osteoarthritis (OA) pain has on pets and discussed current and future therapies in development to help veterinarians manage OA pain in their patients. This important information was delivered to thousands of veterinarians from around the world who logged on to the WSAVA YouTube channel to watch his presentations online.
He discussed how broadly OA pain negatively impacts pets’ lives. “As well as the more obvious impact on gait and movement, OA pain can affect many areas of a pet’s life including sleep, cognitive function, affect (emotion) and social relationships, among several other factors,” he said. “However, the prevalence of OA in both cats and dogs is often under-recognized and therefore left untreated.” Dr. Lascelles reinforced veterinarians’ ability to make a big impact on dogs’ and cats’ lives by helping to educate pet owners and by diagnosing OA early on.
Once identified, OA pain is currently managed through diet and exercise, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), nutritional supplementation, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, stem cell isolation and platelet-rich plasma, and adjunctive medications. A final solution may include surgery such as joint stabilization, joint replacement, and arthrodesis.
Dr. Lascelles discussed investigational therapies in development, which if approved, would add to a veterinarian’s options for treating OA pain - including anti-nerve growth factor (NGF) monoclonal antibodies, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, cytokine therapy, and intra articular injections, including gene therapy.
He communicated, “anti-NGF therapy could be the most exciting therapeutic advance in more than 20 years in veterinary medicine to control osteoarthritis (OA) associated pain.” He provided scientific background on how anti-NGF pain therapy is understood to work in people, dogs and cats.
”The potential for anti-NGF therapy to control OA pain is an exciting new development, and represents a new medicinal innovation identified to block pain outside the prostaglandin pain pathway.”
Dr. Lascelles explained that NGF is a signaling protein produced by injured tissue and is elevated in joints with OA. “It is one of the key factors mediating pain, like the more familiar prostaglandins. NGF binds to pain receptors on peripheral nerve endings, contributing to the pain signal,” he said.
“NGF also binds to receptors on inflammatory cells, inducing the release of both pro-inflammatory mediators, and more NGF, contributing to a cycle of pain and inflammation.
“New scientific innovations allow for the creation of monoclonal antibody therapy (mAbs) designed specifically for feline and canine use.
“These species-specific therapies are long-acting and delivered via subcutaneous injection. Antibody therapies are metabolized differently than small molecules; they are metabolized to peptides and amino acids within cells. As such, they are expected to have a different safety profile than traditional drug therapies.”
Dr. Lascelles said that clinical researchers have found that it is possible to lower NGFs’ negative influence in the joint with anti-NGF antibody therapies, and sustained pain reduction was safely delivered for about a month in both canine and feline pilot studies.
As well as positively impacting the lives of cats and dogs with OA pain, Dr. Lascelles said the new treatment would also ease the delivery of the medication to pets.
“I think the idea of there potentially being a therapeutic that is a single, subcutaneous injection, providing many weeks of pain relief, is very exciting,” he said.
Dr. Lascelles says anti-NGF therapy is expected to have analgesia equal to current pain therapies, is metabolized differently than NSAIDs, and is delivered as a monthly injection in the clinic.
Dr. Lascelles says the anti-NGF antibody therapy has the potential to massively impact the lives of dogs and cats that deal with OA-associated pain daily, and could be an exciting new option for veterinarians to help manage OA pain.
The webinars were broadcast in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese on WSAVA’s YouTube Channel https://wsava.org/news/events/zoetis-webinar-oa/ and remain available to watch.
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