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Treatment for Dupuytren’s Contracture | Medilogy
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Treatment for Dupuytren’s Contracture

Researchers at Stony Brook University might have discovered a painless treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture.  Dupuytren’s contracture is a disfiguring disorder, which twists the hands, making even the simplest movements impossible.  This disorder could be treated with an injectable drug that was just recently developed.

The disorder occurs because the connective tissue under the palm tightens and toughens.  Simple things such as picking up something, putting on gloves, or shaking hands can become difficult tasks.  Currently, this new drug could be an alternative to surgery for 13.5 to 27 million people in United States and Europe suffering from Dupuytren’s contracture.  It is a genetic condition, which is present within 3 to 6 percent of all Caucasian.  As thick threads of collagen form deep in the hand, they move upward (from palm) and connect to one or more finger, causing them to curve.  The twisting can range from mild to severe as it may cause the finger to lose dexterity (30-degree angle curvature).

The exact cause of Dupuytren’s contracture is a mystery; however, certain factors are known to increase one’s risk of acquiring the disorder.  Heredity is one factor that passes on the disorder through families.  Tobacco and alcohol use are linked to increasing risk of Dupuytren’s contracture as it might cause small changes within blood vessels.  Patients with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes are known to have tissue lumps on their palms.  However, their condition is usually mild and does not lead to finger contraction.

Some common symptoms of Duputren’s contracture are thickening of the skin on the palm, formation of cords of tissues that extend to your fingers and lump of tissues (usually firm) on your palm.

The current treatment for this disorder is an “extensive hand surgery” as described by Badalamente, “Right now, the gold standard for treatment of patients with this condition is surgery, and it’s a fairly extensive hand surgery.”

Because of this revolutionizing research, FDA is fast-tracking the enzyme-based drug, collagenase which will be presented to the FDA review committee on September 16.

Auxillium Pharmaceuticals Inc. produced the collagenase for Stony Brook research and have named it Xiaflex.  Since there are no medications available for Duputren’s contraction, this is considered to be a striking discovery.

According to Dr. Lawrence Hurst, chief of orthopedics at Stony Brook University and co-developer of the drug, the collagenase will dissolve the excess collagen in just one or two injections.  It can also treat “frozen shoulder,” which is an orthopedic condition that may result in the loss of arm and rid chubby thighs of cellulite.

In a study conducted by Hurst and Badalmented, about 64 percent of 308 patients “had full extension of contorted joints within 30 days.”

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