Osteoarthritis: a revolutionary new drug that could change everything

Canadian researchers have succeeded in developing the first antisense drug to stop the progression of osteoarthritis in the joints. Still to be sure of his safety on humans.

While osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the world, a discovery may well change the deal. According to a recent study published Thursday, October 4 in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic DiseasesCanadian researchers have succeeded in developing the first treatment that can stop the progression of this joint disease. Still to test its safety on humans ...

A new target

Dr. Mohit Kapoor, Director of the Center for Arthritis at the University Health Network and his colleagues at the Krambil Research Institute, used a variety of experimental models to develop this drug, including animal models. and human tissue samples from people with osteoarthritis.

They then discovered a molecule, called microRNA-181a-5p, which would be a mediator very involved in triggering inflammation, cartilage destruction and collagen depletion. It is a messenger RNA that is produced by a gene in case of aggression of the cartilage and which is responsible for going to activate the inflammation and block the cartilage cells, the chondrocyte.

The antisense revolution

The researchers then developed a specific blocker of this messenger RNA in the form of an "antisense", a nucleic acid sequence complementary to the messenger RNA in order to block it by binding to it. With this antisense, the team managed to stop the destruction of the joints and protect the cartilage in the mouse.

"The blocker is based on antisense technology, and when you inject this antisense into the joints, it blocks the destructive activity of the microRNA-181-5p and stops cartilage breakdown," says Dr. Akihiro Nakamura. , co-author of the study. "These results are very important because currently there is no treatment or medication available to stop the progression of osteoarthritis," says Dr. Kapoor.

Osteoarthritis, the leading cause of functional disability for people over 40 in France

"The current treatments for osteoarthritis treat symptoms such as pain but are unable to stop the progression of the disease," he explains. And to clarify: "The blocker we tested alters the disease and has the ability to prevent further destruction of the joint in the spine and knee."

"The antisense technology on osteoarthritis is in its infancy but research has taken a big step forward.If we were able to develop a simple and effective injection for patients, this discovery could change the situation," enthuses Dr. Raja Rampersaud, a spinal surgeon and researcher at Toronto Western Hospital, also participated in the study.

Now, scientists must initiate safety studies in humans, determine the appropriate dosage and develop a method to inject the blocker directly into the joints of the knee and spine.

Osteoarthritis is a common disease

Today, osteoarthritis affects 10 million people in France, or 17% of the population. This is the leading cause of functional disability for those over 40 years old. The affliction is manifested by pain and stiffness in the joints. If most often these symptoms are mechanical, it happens that the patient suffers from inflammatory flares.

Currently, the treatment of inflammatory flares, anti-osteoarthritis slow action (AASAL), visco-supplements that lubricate the joint and nourish the cartilage as well as physical activity adapted, physiotherapy, orthoses or medicine thermal are all solutions to try to improve the functionality of the joints.

As for future prospects to overcome this disease, "cell therapy trials on animals seem promising, but the trials on humans are still at a very preliminary stage", note l French Association of Antirheumatic Struggle. Let's hope that this new discovery makes the difference.

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