Protein Microcrystals Could Offer a Better Way to Treat Osteoarthritis

Powerful Cell Guidance Systems' technology is being applied to the treatment of a disease that causes chronic pain for millions of people.

PODS Protein microcrystals

Osteoarthritis is a common disease which affects around 1 in 3 people over the age of 45. The condition causes damage to the cartilage layer which cover the ends of bones. When severe, joint movement is restricted and becomes so painful that replacement of the joint, for example a hip or knee, can be required.

Surgeons and scientists at Cambridge University and Cell Guidance Systems Ltd are now working together to repair damaged cartilage at an earlier stage, using a unique growth factor microcrystal technology. Growth factors are proteins that can promote repair of damaged tissue. Although synthetic growth factors are often used therapeutically, they have not been effective for cartilage repair because they quickly degrade in the patient’s body before they have a chance to work.

To address this significant limitation, the two groups are using a patented technology that encases growth factors in a protective protein microcrystal lattice. With this “armor” layer, growth factors survive in the body much longer, allowing them more time to do their work.

Dr. Michael Jones, CEO of Cell Guidance System comments, "PODS growth factors offer the prospect of an effective therapy for Osteoarthritis. We are excited to be working alongside a world-class team of clinicians and veterinarians in the development of this treatment." Prof Andrew McCaskie, Head of the Department of Surgery and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Cambridge, commented, "Osteoarthritis places a great burden on both patients and healthcare systems around the world. Early intervention with treatments that can reverse or even slow the development of the diseases."

Rather than a few days, a single injection of PODS growth factors can produce a sustained therapeutic effect over several months, which may enable successful cartilage repair.  The two teams of researchers are now testing the PODS growth factors in models of osteoarthritis, prior to performing clinical trials. This work is being funded partly by a grant from InnovateUK.

About Cell Guidance Systems

Cell Guidance Systems is a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, UK that is leading the way in the development of technologies for cell based research and regenerative medicine. The company collaborates extensively with academics and clinicians at universities and hospitals in the UK and abroad.

The above work is being performed in collaboration with Professor Andrew McCaskie and Dr Frances Henson, The Division of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Surgery.

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Source: Cell Guidance Systems

Categories: Healthcare and Medical News, Chronic Diseases, Medical Research, Veterinary, Orthopedics

Tags: arthritis, cartilage, cytokine, growth factor, hip, knee, Osteoarthritis

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