Arthritis: New Injectable Gel Shows Hope in Treatment
For arthritis sufferers, a new treatment may bring relief.
Researchers developed a gel that can be injected straight into a joint providing pain medication to a targeted area. The gel could also release medication over time as flare-ups occur.
We think that this platform could be useful for multiple medical applications including the localized treatment of cancer, ocular disease, and cardiovascular disease, Jeffrey Karp, leader of the research and co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at BWH said in May 2011 issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research.
Arthritis literally means "inflammation of a joint." In some forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, the inflammation arises because the smooth covering on the ends of bones become damaged or worn.
Osteoarthritis is usually found in a weight-bearing joint. In rheumatoid arthritis, the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of a disease process that affects the entire body. Of the nearly 27 million Americans who have osteoarthritis, approximately 16 million are women.
In arthritic joints, inflammation may cause long-lasting or permanent disability. Approximately 1.3 million American adults have the disease.
Most arthritis treatments are taken orally. However, researchers say the gel could provide treatment that is faster and targets a specific area. Additionally, the new gel has a safe covering that allows pain medication to be released when needed.
By adding a dye, researchers were able to see that their gel released the pain medications when enzymes associated with arthritis were released. The test also found that gel injected into healthy joints remained the same way for at least two months and withstood normal wear-and-tear.