New research published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases shows that a blocker could stop osteoarthritis of the knee when injected into the joints.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a chronic and painful joint disorder that causes the cartilage to break down and bone to overgrow. This type of arthritis usually starts in the small joints of the hands and feet, then moves into other joints like the elbow, knees, shoulders, or hips.
No drug to treat osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the leading causes of disability in Canada. According to Bone and Joint Canada, there are more than 4.6 millionCanadiancurrentlyliving with osteoarthritis. Increasing age, having a family member with the condition, repeated injury to the joint, and being overweight are the major risk factors for developing osteoarthritis.
Currently, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Existing treatments mainly focusing on managing the pain, reducing the load on the joints, and improving the strength of the muscles supporting the joints.
Using locked nucleic acid to stop joint destruction
In a recent study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, a group of researchers from the University of Toronto, Canada, developed a new therapeutic treatment that has a high potential to stop knee joint degeneration. This novel treatment, utilizing the antisense technology, is capable of blocking the destructive activity caused by a specific microRNA.
Using both of the animal models and human tissue samples from Toronto Western Hospital patients who have knee and/or spine osteoarthritis, the researchers identified that a biomarker called microRNA-181a-5p has played a significant role in causing the inflammation, cartilage destruction, and collagen depletion.
The researchers further demonstrated that an intra-articular injection of in vivo grade locked nucleic acidmicroRNA-181a-5pcould helps reduce cartilage degeneration of both facet joint and knee.
This study opens new doors to reshape the future treatment of osteoarthritis. However, the risk and long-term benefits must be still studied and fully understood.
Written by Man-tik Choy, Ph.D
Reference: Nakamura, A. et al. microRNA-181a-5p antisense oligonucleotides attenuate osteoarthritis in facet and knee joints. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Published Online First: 04 October 2018. DOI: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-213629.