The final slide in Atul Deodhar’s presentation on “Emerging Therapies in Axial Spondyloarthritis” seemed barely able to contain its excitement.

“The field of spondyloarthritis treatment is going through the same excitement and expansion that rheumatoid arthritis treatment went through 10 years ago,” Dr. Deodhar, professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, wrote on the slide. “Watch this space!”

The presentation, which was part of the panel “Spondyloarthropathies: Advances in the Science and Management” at the 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., highlighted some of those innovative treatments. The new drugs come after a gap of several years since tumour necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) therapies were approved for axial spondyloarthritis.

The new developments that Dr. Deodhar cited include:

  1. Secukinumab, a new biologic agent that blocks interleukin-17A, was approved to treat axial spondyloarthritis.
  2. There are clinical trials either already underway or planned for the biologic agents ustekinumab (which blocks interleukin 12 and 23), ixekizumab (vs. interleukin 17A), bimekizumab (vs. interleukin 17A and 17F) and guselkumab and tidrakizumab (both vs. interleukin 23).
  3. After a successful trial of tofacitinib, the JAK inhibitor that is often prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, in ankylosing spondylitis, other such inhibitors, such as baricitinib, could be explored.

“After a long gap with no new therapies, several novel therapies are in development for the treatment of axial spondyloarthritis,” Dr. Deodhar said.