Molecule Injections: Reducing the Damage of Osteoarthritis
Over 100 million people in the world currently suffer from osteoarthritis, and that number is sure to go up as people get old, and weigh more. As reported in Scientific Reports, injections of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into rodents’ knees appears to reverse the progression of osteoarthritis damage. ATP stores energy and is a genetic material building block. After 8 weekly injections, rodents with limbs damaged by traumatic injury or massive weight gain experienced a 35% to 50% regrowth of cartilage tissue. Biologically, the limb damage in rodents is similar to that seen in patients with osteoarthritis.
Although this potential treatment isn’t ready to use on humans, it is promising. Most pharmacological treatments for osteoarthritis only numb joint pain or lubricate joint tissue, and can be addictive. Surgical replacement can be done, but it is expensive and has risks. Lead study author Carmen Corciulo, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Langone, commented “…that replenishing adenosine stores by injection works well as a treatment for osteoarthritis in animal models of the disease, and with no apparent side effects.” In order to do clinical trials, test drugs must be storable for up to weeks, and that more experiments will be needed on larger mammals.
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