Scientists from the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine have developed a molecule that can be used to treat arthritis. They may have found a way to make joint replacement surgery a thing of the past. If applied in an injection form the molecule may be able to completely replace surgery.
The molecule is the RCGD 423 which stands for "Regulator of Cartilage Growth and Differentiation" Not only does it promote cartilage growth, but it also stops the inflammation that leads to cartilage degeneration.
The way it works is that the RCGD 423 molecule communicates with the glycoprotein 130 (Gp130). The Gp130 is capable of receiving two types of signals from the body. Those that promote cartilage development in the embryo and those that trigger chronic inflammation in the adult. "RCGD 423 boosts Gp130's ability to receive the cartilage development signals, leading to regeneration in adults, while blocking inflammatory signals."
Researchers applied RCGD 423 to joint cartilage cells in the lab and the cells proliferated more and died less than would otherwise be the case. Additionally, the researchers injected it into the knees of rats with damaged cartilage and found their injuries healed more effectively.Plans now call for RCGD 423 to be the subject of a clinical trial to treat osteoarthritis or juvenile arthritis.
"The goal is to make an injectable therapy for an early to moderate level of arthritis," says Evseenko. "It's not going to cure arthritis, but it will delay the progression of arthritis to the damaging stages when patients need joint replacements, which account for a million surgeries a year in the US."
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Coxworth , B. (2018, February 8). Molecule Could Grow Cartilage in Arthritic Joints . News Atlas. Retrieved February 8, 2018.