Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Knees Up

Two molecules that promote cartilage repair show promise in treating osteoarthritis

17 February 2020

Knees Up

Osteoarthritis, which affects the bones in joints making them stiff and painful, occurs when the smooth rubbery cartilage protecting the ends of the bones breaks down. The deterioration can result from injury, or wear and tear, but either way few treatments are available aside from pain relief or surgery. In the search for new drugs, researchers have found two molecules that appear to protect and renew cartilage cells. Indeed, when injected together into the knees of rats with osteoarthritis, the molecules boosted the cartilage cushioning. The top panel above shows a healthy rat knee with thick smooth cartilage (white). The second shows stage 2 osteoarthritis, the third, shows progression to stage 4. And the last panel shows a stage 2 knee after the combination therapy with clear improvements to the cartilage. If such results can be recapitulated in humans, it’ll surely put a spring in the step of osteoarthritis sufferers everywhere.

Written by Ruth Williams

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