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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Dec 2023 - 22 Dec 2023


Neurobiol Pain



Monoclonal antibodies against GFRα3 are efficacious against evoked hyperalgesic and allodynic responses in mouse join pain models but, one of these, REGN5069, was not effective against pain in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in patients with osteoarthritis pain.


Somersan-Karakaya S, Turner KC, Cortes-Burgos L, Miller J, LaCroix-Fralish M, Logovinsky V, Patel Y, Torres R, Ganguly S, Breazna A, DeVeaux M, Bhore R, Gao M, Delfino FJ, Rafique A, Fairhurst JL, Hunt C, Babb R, Badithe A, Poueymirou WT, Surowitz R, Rottey S, Murphy AJ, Harari O, Macdonald LE, Croll SD


The artemin-GFRα3 signaling pathway has been implicated in various painful conditions including migraine, cold allodynia, hyperalgesia, inflammatory bone pain, and mouse knees contain GFRα3-immunoreactive nerve endings. We developed high affinity mouse (REGN1967) and human (REGN5069) GFRα3-blocking monoclonal antibodies and, following evaluations in mouse models of chronic joint pain (osteoarthritic-like and inflammatory), conducted a first-in-human phase 1 pharmacokinetics (PK) and safety trial of REGN5069 (NCT03645746) in healthy volunteers, and a phase 2 randomized placebo-controlled efficacy and safety trial of REGN5069 (NCT03956550) in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain. In three commonly used mouse models of chronic joint pain (destabilization of the medial meniscus, intra-articular monoiodoacetate, or Complete Freund’s Adjuvant), REGN1967 and REGN5069 attenuated evoked behaviors including tactile allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia without discernably impacting joint pathology or inflammation, prompting us to further evaluate REGN5069 in humans. In the phase 1 study in healthy subjects, the safety profiles of single doses of REGN5069 up to 3000 mg (intravenous) or 600 mg (subcutaneous) were comparable to placebo; PK were consistent with a monoclonal antibody exhibiting target-mediated disposition. In the phase 2 study in patients with OA knee pain, two doses of REGN5069 (100 mg or 1000 mg intravenous every 4 weeks) for 8 weeks failed to achieve the 12-week primary and secondary efficacy endpoints relative to placebo. In addition to possible differences in GFRα3 biology between mice and humans, we highlight here differences in experimental parameters that could have contributed to a different profile of efficacy in mouse models versus human OA pain. Additional research is required to more fully evaluate any potential role of GFRα3 in human pain.