Stopping OA in its Tracks?

A research team at the Krembil Research Institute, a part of the University Health Network, Toronto, has developed a new treatment for osteoarthritis that appear to arrest the inflammation, collagen depletion, and cartilage destruction associated with progression of the disease. Lead author Mohit Kapoor, PhD, arthritis research director at University Health Network commented “Current treatments for osteoarthritis address the symptoms, such as pain, but are unable to stop the progression of the disease. The blocker we’ve tested is disease modifying. It has the ability to prevent further joint destruction in both knee and spine.” The discovery was discussed in a paper published last week in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Working with animal models and human tissue samples, the researchers focused on the action of a biomarker, microRNA-181a-5p, that is believed to be associated with cartilage breakdown in OA. Using a blocker comprised of Locked Nucleic Acid-Antisense Oligonucleotides, the team demonstrated that the cartilage destruction was arrested. First author Akihiro Nakamura, MD, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Kapoor lab commented “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.” The authors detailed next developmental steps as including initiation of safety studies, development of a method of direct injection into knee and spine joints, and determination of effective dosage levels.  Read more about the discovery and next developmental steps here. The research paper may be read here.

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