18 March 2013
ByAppeared in BioNews 697
An experimental gene therapy that protects cartilage from wear and deterioration has been shown to slow the development of osteoarthritis in mice.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form joint disease affecting over 8 million people in the UK. It is caused by the breakdown of cartilage, the slippery connective tissue between bones, due to age or injury. Without this protective layer, friction between the bones in joints causes the pain experienced by people with the condition.
Currently there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but a variety of treatments are available to manage the symptoms of the disease. For advanced cases, where physiotherapy and pain relief are ineffective, operations to replace the damaged joint with an artificial one can be performed. But the treatment is expensive – a hip replacement can cost the NHS) between £4