- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease
affecting many individuals globally
- It is associated with pain and inflammation due
to degeneration of joint cartilage
- Present modalities of treatment don't prevent
- Nanoparticle remained in joints for weeks, halted
cartilage destruction, and also controlled pain and inflammation.
into joints damaged by osteoarthritis
, has been found to be
effective in reducing joint pain and inflammation, and preventing progressive
destruction of joint cartilage, in a recent study.
Reasons for This Study
Osteoarthritis is a
painful and crippling disease affecting nearly 27 million people in the United
States alone, and at least 12 percent of osteoarthritis cases occur due to
joint injuries sustained earlier.
‘Nanoparticle injections – novel treatment for osteoarthritis.’
present treatments involve the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, which don't halt joint cartilage
. Also their duration of action is shortlived, and their use is
limited by side effects. Steroid injections into joints are also administered,
but again, their effects are shortlived.
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been able to
demonstrate that injecting nanoparticles
into injured joints in mice can effectively control pain and inflammation, and
most importantly halt destruction of joint cartilage
"I see a lot of patients
with osteoarthritis, and there's really no treatment," said senior author
Christine Pham, MD, an associate professor of medicine. "We try to treat their
symptoms, but even when we inject steroids into an arthritic joint, the drug
only remains for up to a few hours, and then it's cleared. These nanoparticles remain in the joint longer and help prevent
Details of The Study
The nanoparticles that
have been used in this study are very tiny (more than 10 times tinier than a
red blood cell), a property that makes it easier for them to penetrate deeply
into tissues. These particles contain a peptide
derived from a natural protein
which has been altered to enable it to attach to a molecule
called small interfering RNA
The melittin delivers siRNA to the damaged joint and controls the inflammation
within the joint.
nanoparticle was created by study co-investigators Hua Pan, PhD, an assistant
professor of medicine, and Samuel Wickline, MD, the James R. Hornsby Family
Professor of Biomedical Sciences.
"The nanoparticles are
injected directly into the joint, and due to their size, they easily penetrate
into the cartilage to enter the injured cells," Wickline said. "Previously,
we've delivered nanoparticles through the bloodstream and shown that they
inhibit inflammation in a model of rheumatoid arthritis
. In this study, they were
injected locally into the joint and given a chance to penetrate into the
of The Study
In many cases, patients
with osteoarthritis have suffered an earlier injury to the joint such as a
fall, an accident
, or a meniscal or ligament tear. The ensuing
inflammation contributes to destruction of the cartilage.
Injecting nanoparticles into such joints immediately after an injury may
vastly reduce joint destruction and degeneration, preventing progression of
According to one of the
researchers, more work is necessary to determine if nanoparticle injections are
effective in cases of established osteoarthritis with cartilage destruction and
participating in the study, however feels that nanoparticles will prove
effective even in advanced cases. "The inflammatory molecule that we're
targeting not only causes problems after an injury, but it's also responsible
for a great deal of inflammation in advanced cases of osteoarthritis," said
Linda J. Sandell, PhD, the Mildred B. Simon Research Professor of Orthopaedic
Surgery and director of Washington University's Center for Musculoskeletal
Research. "So we think these
nanoparticles may [also] be helpful in patients who already have arthritis, and
we're working to develop experiments to test that idea
In conclusion, it may be
said that nanoparticle injections to treat osteoarthritis is a huge step
forward, and if found effective in halting disease progression, could be life
changing for many patients crippled by this disease.
Living with Osteoarthritis
present, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, also known as 'wear and tear'
joint disease. It is a crippling condition characterized by severe pain and
limitation of mobility. It frequently
hips, spine, knees, joints of hands and great toe. Some tips to cope with this
- Proper positioning
and support for neck and back.
- Adjusting furnitures, such as raising a chair or toilet seat.
- Avoid repeated
motions of the joint, especially frequent bending.
- Following aregular exercise regimen, since
exercise is good for joints.
- Weight loss in
obese patients can prevent progression of disease.
- Using aids such as
cane or walking stick to prevent falling.
- Working with a
physiotherapist to improve range of motion and joint mobility.
- Osteoarthritis - Fast Facts - (http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Osteoarthritis)