Researchers at Washington University have developed nanoparticles to treat the inflammation that wears away at joint cartilage in patients with osteoarthritis.
Traditional treatment methods to reduce inflammation involve steroid injections, but the body quickly washes them away, leaving the cells vulnerable to more inflammation.
“I see a lot of patients with osteoarthritis, and there’s really no treatment,” senior author Dr. Christine Pham said, according to the university. “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, which are smaller than red blood cells, carry a protein bound to a small interfering RNA molecule. The molecules interfere with the process of inflammation, preventing further damage. Researchers tested the nanoparticles on mice after an injury and saw effects within 24 hours, which lasted for weeks after, according to a study published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.