Important Step Forward in Osteoarthritis Research: Bioactive Collagen Peptides Stimulate the Regeneration of Cartilage Tissue

Thursday, September 17, 2009 General News
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MONTREAL and KIEL, Germany, September 14 Working incollaboration with Kiel University, researchers at the Kiel- based CollagenResearch Institute (CRI) have demonstrated the stimulating effect of specialbioactive collagen peptides (FORTIGEL(R)) in the context of cell experiments.Last weekend the CRI presented its research findings at the congress of theOsteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) in Montreal. Theinvestigations of the CRI provide an explanation for the findings of a jointclinical trial carried out by Harvard Medical School and Tufts Medical Center- likewise presented at the congress. With the aid of special imaging (MRI)techniques this clinical trial demonstrated that FORTIGEL(R) stimulated cellmetabolism in the knee-joint cartilage and promotes the regeneration ofcartilage tissue.

In cooperation with Kiel University the CRI researchers appliedmolecular-biology and protein-chemistry analysis methods directly to thecells in order to demonstrate the stimulating effect of FORTIGEL(R).Developed by GELITA AG, this product contains a special combination ofhigh-purity bioactive collagen peptides. "In our investigations we showedthat - alongside the synthesis of Type II collagen - FORTIGEL(R) induces theincreased production of aggrecan, a special proteoglycan which is of centralimportance to the cartilage function," explains Dr. Steffen Oesser, Directorof the CRI. This provides experimental proof that the application ofbioactive collagen peptides stimulates the renewed synthesis of theextracellular cartilage matrix.

Cell experiment underpins the Harvard/Tufts clinical study

The cell-based experiments of the CRI confirm the findings of a clinicaltrial conducted by the Harvard Medical School and the Tufts Medical Center.The CRI has clearly demonstrated at the cellular level that FORTIGEL(R)brings about an increase in proteoglycan. Previously, the Harvard/Tuftsclinical trial had proved the regenerative effect of FORTIGEL(R) on theknee-joint cartilage using an objective imaging technique. These twoinvestigations complement each other.

The double-blinded, placebo-controlled Harvard/Tufts trial involved 30patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee and revealed a significantregeneration of the cartilage tissue in the FORTIGEL(R) group. In the placebogroup cartilage degeneration progressed as before.

To analyze the structural changes in the cartilage tissue theHarvard/Tufts researchers deployed a special imaging technique (dGEMRIC).Following the injection of a special dye into the patient's knee joint it ispossible to determine the proteoglycan density in the cartilage with a highdegree of accuracy. The results of this clinical trial indicate a significantincrease in proteoglycan after the application of FORTIGEL(R). This deliversclinical confirmation for the experimental findings of the CRI.

Treatment of osteoarthritis

"The targeted manipulation of the cartilage metabolism opens up newpossibilities for the treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis," emphasizesDr. Oesser. Unlike analgesic and antirheumatic drugs, which merely alleviatethe symptoms and effects, FORTIGEL(R) now offers the potential for analimentary, causal therapy.

Worldwide approximately 135 million people suffer from osteoarthritis.Experts predict a rapid rise in this figure - above all in the industrializednations. The prevention of arthritic diseases enjoys top priority, due notleast to the high costs incurred by the healthcare systems.

Based in Kiel/Germany, the Collagen Research Institute (CRI) wasestablished in 2003 as an independent research organization. The institute'sactivities centre on degenerative changes to the connective tissue and thedevelopment of complementary and alternative therapies in the area ofosteoarthritis, osteoporosis and wound healing. Since its establishment CRIhas devoted special attention to investigating the effects of collagenpeptides on the extracellular matrix of the articular cartilage.Collagen Research Institute Dr. Steffen Oesser Tel. +49-(0)431-56-06-610 Fax +49-(0)431-56-06-613

SOURCE Collagen Research Institute

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