Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Gene Therapy Helped Mice Withstand Arthritis: Study

Gene Therapy Helped Mice Withstand Arthritis: Study

03/14/13

THURSDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- In a very early sign of medical progress on the osteoarthritis front, scientists report they've used injections of modified genes to reduce the risk that mice will develop the painful, debilitating condition.

There's no way to know if the gene therapy treatment will help humans, and scientists are far from understanding the treatment's side effects and potential cost. But the findings are more than just good news for mice with creaky joints.

"This work identifies an approach that can make a difference," explained study co-author Dr. Brendan Lee, director of the Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Disease Program of Texas. "There's a great need for treating and preventing osteoarthritis."

The disease, the most common form of arthritis, appears as your joints deteriorate with aging. It often strikes the hands, knees, neck and hips, causing pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.

Seventy percent of Americans aged 55 to 70 struggle with osteoarthritis, for which there is no cure. Doctors try to treat the pain and improve the ability of patients to move, Lee said, and may turn to joint replacement surgeries in advanced cases.

In the new study, researchers examined a protein that diminishes in people with a rare joint disorder. The protein appears to be crucial to the lubrication of joints.

Researchers injected a gene related to the protein into mice and found that the rodent bodies began producing it. The mice appeared to be resistant -- but not immune -- to damage to the cartilage of joints from injury and aging, Lee said.

There are plenty of caveats.

The research is in mice, not humans; the next step is to test the approach in horses, whose joints are similar to those of people. And the gene therapy doesn't seem to do anything for damage that's already occurred.

"This kind of therapy would probably not be very useful in patients who have advanced disease," Lee said, adding that the treatment would likely have to be used with other strategies.

Dr. Joanne Jordan, director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the findings "would be really very exciting if this translates up into humans." The study, she said, appears to be reasonable and especially strong because it looks at osteoarthritis in the mice from different angles.

Currently, Jordan said, treatments for osteoarthritis, such as painkillers, come with potentially severe side effects. And in many cases, she added, the damage is done by the time people notice there's a problem.

The study is published in the March 13 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

More information

For more about osteoarthritis, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Health NewsCopyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse First in Area to Perform Single-Site Hysterectomy
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >