Researches find potential cure for osteoarthritis

October 9, 2018

Researchers have found a new molecular target for the treatment of knee and spine osteoarthritis.

Scientists at the Krembil Research Institute in Toronto researched rat and human tissue samples, and focused on a molecule called microRNA-181a-5p, which is believed to cause inflammation, cartilage destruction and collagen depletion. The findings were published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Osteoarthritis, is a degenerative joint disease that includes the breakdown of the protective cartilage found in the body’s spine, hand, knee and hip joints.

As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects more than 30 million US adults, but treatment options are limited.

“This is important because there are currently no drugs or treatments available to patients that can stop osteoarthritis,” commented Dr. Mohit Kapoor, a senior scientist at Kembril and arthritis research director at the affiliated University Health Network.

“Current treatments for osteoarthritis address the symptoms, such as pain, but are unable to stop the progression of the disease.”

A blocker consisting of Locked Nucleic Acid-Antisense Oligonucleotides was found to possibly prevent further joint destruction in the knee and spine, researchers said.The blocker is based on antisense technology.

“When you inject this blocker into the joints, it blocks the destructive activity caused by microRNA-181-5p and stops cartilage degeneration,” said author Dr. Akihiro Nakamura.

Besides testing the method on rats, the research team used cells and tissues from Toronto Western Hospital patients who have knee or spine osteoarthritis.The researchers are currently running safety studies on proper dosage, and a method for injecting the blocker directly into the knee and spine joints.

“The technology in osteoarthritis is in its infancy, but the research has now taken a big step forward,” said collaborator Dr. Raja Rampersaud, an orthopedic spine surgeon and clinician scientist at Toronto Western.

“If we are able to develop a safe and effective injection for patients, this discovery could be a game changer.”



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