New Treatments for Osteoarthritis : Cartilage Regeneration.
I seem to be talking about stem cells a lot lately and here they are again. They really do seem to be the most promising of all the new treatments for osteoarthritis.
This generation of new treatments for osteoarthritis have a whole new approach to cartilage degeneration and are at last they are finding ways to make the cartilage grow again. Up to now they have been chasing symptoms rather than curing the actual condition.
A report in Science News says that researchers seem to have found the key that switches on our cartilage to regenerate. The key is a molecule called kartogenin and although in it’s early stages of research this promises to be one of the best new treatments for osteoarthritis.
“The new approach taps into mesenchymal stem cells, which naturally reside in cartilage and give rise to cells that make connective tissue. These include chondrocytes, the only cells in the body that manufacture cartilage. Kartogenin steers the stem cells to wake up and take on cartilage-making duties. This is an essential step in the cartilage repair that falls behind in people with osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, which develops from injury or long-term joint use.
In the blue-sky scenario, this would be a locally delivered therapy that would target stem cells already there,” says study coauthor Kristen Johnson, a molecular biologist at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in San Diego.”
Bring on Stupp and his noodle highways another of the new treatments for osteoarthritis that promises a brighter! Unfortunately this research has only been tested on mice with bad knees so far but this was the result:
“Johnson and her colleagues screened 22,000 compounds in cartilage and found that one, kartogenin, induced stem cells to take on the characteristics of chondrocytes. The molecule turned on genes that make cartilage components called aggrecan and collagen II. Tests of mice with cartilage damage similar to osteoarthritis showed that kartogenin injections lowered levels of a protein called cartilage oligomeric matrix protein. People with osteoarthritis have an excess of the protein, which is considered a marker of disease severity. Kartogenin also enabled mice with knee injuries to regain weight-bearing capacity on the joint within 42 days.
Lab work revealed that kartogenin inhibits a protein called filamin A in the mesenchymal stem cells. This unleashes other compounds that can then orchestrate the activity of genes useful in turning the stem cells into functional chondrocytes. In so doing, Johnson says, kartogenin seems to protect and repair cartilage.”
However don’t get too excited. This is one of many new treatments for osteoarthritis that is still in the research stage so will probably going to take a good few years to filter into general practice. But this is what molecular biologist Mary Goldring of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York says about new treatments for osteoarthritis:
“Our cartilage wasn’t meant to live this long. A cartilage imbalance results from wear and tear, literally, as people age. Regenerating the cartilage-making process in the body has become a primary goal in orthopedic medicine.”