Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage that lines and cushions joints to become rougher and thinner, as a result of wear and tear. The bone tries to compensate by thickening and creating growths or spurs, resulting in the joint becoming stiff and inflamed – with the only realistic treatment option being an artificial joint replacement.
But there’s new hope now in the form of a drug that can halt the progression of Osteoarthritis. The new injection, based on antibodies from the immune system, acts on one of the key players of the condition, a compound called Interleukin-1 or IL-1. This is a cytokine – a chemical messenger for the immune system, which plays a role in inflammation.
It is thought that IL-1 gathers around joints after an injury or as a result of day-to-day damage, causing inflammation and harm to the cartilage – thereby leading to the development of osteoarthritis. IL-1 is also believed to be involved in increasing the perception of pain.
Antibody for blocking Cytokine
The new drug, known as ABT-981, is an antibody that blocks the activity of the harmful cytokine and is injected into the joint area. Early animal tests have found that it can stop the disease from getting worse.
Having passed initial safety checks, the drug will be tested in U.S. trials in Chicago, Sacramento and Honolulu on people with osteoarthritis of the knee. The study involves 320 patients who will have three doses of the drug or a placebo, and the results will be compared after 12 months.
The treatment may be suitable for other forms of arthritis too, as cytokine is found throughout the body.
Jane Tadman, of the medical research charity Arthritis Research UK, welcomed the study. “Blocking IL-1 is known to be a successful approach in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis,” she says. “However, there has also been interest in IL-1 as a therapy for osteoarthritis, as this molecule is known to be active in osteoarthritic joints. Current drug treatments for knee osteoarthritis are limited in that they have significant side-effects and are not suitable for many people. There is an urgent need to find new and better ways of managing their pain.”
This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.More
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