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Anti-nerve growth factor monoclonal antibodies for the control of pain in dogs and cats
  1. Masataka Enomoto1,
  2. Patrick W Mantyh2,
  3. Joanna Murrell3,
  4. John F Innes4 and
  5. B Duncan X Lascelles1,5,6,7
  1. 1Translational Research in Pain, Comparative Pain Research and Education Centre, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program, Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  3. 3School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  4. 4Units E&F, CVS Vets Ltd, Chester, UK
  5. 5Comparative Medicine Institute, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6Center for Pain Research and Innovation, UNC School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  7. 7Center for Translational Pain Research, Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. E-mail for correspondence; dxlascel{at}


Nerve growth factor (NGF) is essential for the survival of sensory and sympathetic neurons during development. However, in the adult, NGF and its interaction with tropomyosin receptor kinase A receptor (TrkA) has been found to play a critical role in nociception and nervous system plasticity in pain conditions. Thus, various monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapies targeting this pathway have been investigated in the development of new pharmacotherapies for chronic pain. Although none of the mAbs against NGF are yet approved for use in humans, they look very promising for the effective control of pain. Recently, species-specific anti-NGF mAbs for the management of osteoarthritis (OA)-associated pain in dogs and cats has been developed, and early clinical trials have been conducted. Anti-NGF therapy looks to be both very effective and very promising as a novel therapy against chronic pain in dogs and cats. This review outlines the mechanism of action of NGF, the role of NGF in osteoarthritis, research in rodent OA models and the current status of the development of anti-NGF mAbs in humans. Furthermore, we describe and discuss the recent development of species-specific anti-NGF mAbs for the treatment of OA-associated pain in veterinary medicine.

  • osteoarthritis
  • nerve growth factor
  • monoclonal antibody
  • pain
  • cytokines

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests ME was supported by 2A42AR055042-02. BDXL received research funding from Nexvet for work in cats and dogs. BDXL is a paid consultant of Zoetis Animal Health. PWM was supported by grants from National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Veterans Administration and has received support from Abbott, Abbvie, Advanced Targeting Systems, Amgen, Array, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Medtronic, Merck, Pfizer, Plexxikon, Rinat, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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