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Multiple Promising Drugs and Approaches Are Under Investigation for IC/BPS

Chuang YC, Chermansky C, Kashyap M, Tyagi P. Investigational drugs for bladder pain syndrome (BPS) / interstitial cystitis (IC). Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2016 Mar 3. [Epub ahead of print]
This review article provides a comprehensive discussion of the latest research on a variety of promising new treatments for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS), many of which are still in the investigational stages. According to the authors, the key motivation for developing new drugs and therapeutic approaches is the fact that many conventional treatments–such as hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), and heparin–are not effective for many IC/BPS patients. Among the investigational drugs covered in the review are AQX-1125, a novel SHIP1-activating compound that recently showed promise in moderate to severe IC/BPS; adalimumab (Humira), a TNF inhibitor approved for rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions; and tanezumab, which targets nerve growth factor (NGF) and has been studied in a variety of pain conditions. Other novel approaches discussed include the use of botulinum toxin, liposomes, liposomal botulinum toxin, and continuous intravesical lidocaine. Despite early promise for many of these therapies, the authors of the review caution that IC/BPS is a heterogeneous disorder, so depending on underlying causes of the disorder, some cases of IC/BPS may respond to a therapy, while others will not. Accordingly, clinical trials in the future might be most helpful if they are tailored to groups of patients based on specific characteristics of their disorder.