Nanoparticle injections can be a future of osteoarthritis management

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Nanoparticle injections can be a future of osteoarthritis management

At least 27 million people in the United States have osteoarthritis, and  almost 12 percent of osteoarthritis cases arise from earlier injuries. Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, like anti-inflammatory drugs, help reduce pain but do not cease unrelenting cartilage destruction and their effects are often short-term. Hence, pain associated with the condition only gets worse.

The researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have revealed in an animal study that injecting nanoparticles into an injured joint can help conquer an inflammation soon after the injury, and slows down the cartilage destruction. According to senior author Christine Pham, MD, an associate professor of medicine,"I see a lot of patients with osteoarthritis, and there's really no treatment. 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 cartilage degeneration".

The nanoparticles were injected shortly after an injury, and within 24 hours in the presented study. The nanoparticles were at work taming inflammation in the joint. The particles remained in cartilage cells in the joints for weeks, unlike steroid injections those were quickly removed.

These nanoparticles penetrate deeply into the tissues as they are more than 10 times smaller than a red blood cell. The particles carry a peptide derived from a natural protein- melittin. It has been altered to enable it to bind to a molecule called small interfering RNA (siRNA). The melittin transfers siRNA to the damaged joint, obstructing with inflammation in cells. As per Wickline, one of the co-investigators "The nanoparticles are injected directly into the joint, and due to their size, they easily penetrate into the cartilage to enter the injured cells. Previously, we have delivered nanoparticles into 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 injured cartilage".

To avert the cartilage breakdown after injury, the nanoparticles were injected immediately. Whether such a technique will work years after an injury, when osteoarthritis is initiated, and there is severe cartilage loss, still needs to be estimated. But the results point out that the nanoparticles if given soon after joint injuries occur, could assist in maintaining cartilage viability and hinder the progression of osteoarthritis.

Linda J. Sandell, Ph.D., the Mildred B. Simon Research Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and director of Washington University's Center for Musculoskeletal Research said that "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. So we think these nanoparticles may be helpful in patients who already have arthritis, and we're working to develop experiments to test that idea".



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Nanoparticle injections may be future of osteoarthritis treatment


Jason M. Beneciuk et al.

Therapeutic, Melittin, Osteoarthritis, Joints, Amino Acid, Maintenance, Parenteral
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