December 5, 2018 – 4:45 p.m.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, United States, have developed a new experimental strategy that allows an anti-osteoarthritis drug to penetrate and regenerate the cartilage of joints.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, United States, have developed a new experimental strategy that allows an anti-osteoarthritis drug to penetrate and regenerate the cartilage of joints. The advance is being tested in mice and is a step forward to achieve a treatment that slows the progression of this disease, for which there is no cure.
Osteoarthritis consists of progressive degeneration of the cartilage of the joints due to aging or lesions. This pathology affects 300 million people worldwide and has no reversal, since cartilage is a tissue that can not be regenerated.
Accordingly, patients may choose to perform an operation to insert a prosthesis into the affected joint or follow a pharmacological treatment, but the counterpart is that it is very difficult to access the cartilage.
Most drugs are removed from the joints before they can have an effect or they can not penetrate into the cartilage, where the cells that produce it – the chondrocytes – are found, so they can not perform their function. .
Researchers led by MIT have sought a strategy to overcome this obstacle. They designed a nanocarrier: a molecule that acts as a vehicle capable of penetrating the cartilage and taking a remedy for the chondrocytes. The molecule consists of a spherical part to which the drug binds, branches-like structures with a positive electric charge, and a compound called PEG.
As the cartilage has a negative charge, the positive charges of the nanocarrier cause it to adhere to the tissue. PEG, on the other hand, allows breaking the cartilage and reaching the chondrocytes.
Scientists added to the nanocarrier a drug called IGF-1, which promotes cartilage production and the survival and growth of chondrocytes, according to the La Vanguardia newspaper, which publishes the journal Science Translational Medicine.
To test the strategy, they injected the nanocarrier with the drug into the knee joints of rats that had osteoarthritis due to injury. The treatment reduced cartilage degeneration, inflammation and the appearance of bone changes related to osteoarthritis. In comparison to the IGF-1 injection, only the combination with the nanocarrier multiplied by ten the drug half-life in the joints. In addition, this was maintained at effective concentrations in the cartilage for thirty days, so a fortnightly or monthly injection would suffice.
Source: The Nation