Today, over 32 million Americans are struggling from Osteoarthritis caused by gradual wear and tear on the joints and injuries on articular cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. This injectable hydrogel can prevent this kind of osteoarthritis by consistently delivering drugs to the damaged joints to avoid inflammation.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of degenerative joint disease and the study focused on a type of Osteoarthritis called Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis(PTOA). Inflammation on the joints will cause chronic pain, stiffness, and a progressive loss of articular cartilage. The articular cartilage cannot be regenerated. But the joint could be replaced with artificial prosthetic implants. Although, prosthetic implants are limited and need surgery for artificial-joint replacement.

post-traumatic osteoarthritis
Scientists developed a new injectable hydrogel that can prevent the beginning of post-traumatic osteoarthritis

This chronic pain and stiffness are due to the difficulties faced by drugs to reach the affected joints. It’s time for a change. Now, A team of researchers from New York University has developed a therapeutic payload and the vehicle to deliver it to the joints. This new injectable hydrogel will overcome the obstacles while drug delivery and prevent the onset of PTOA.

“Future exploration of higher drug loads and/or repeated drug administration in larger cohorts and a detailed in vivo assessment will allow us to optimize the utility of our Atsttrin-loaded construct in PTOA progression,” said Jin Kim Montclare, study author.


“Our study not only supplies additional evidence supporting the protective application of Atsttrin in the pathogenesis of PTOA but also describes development of a new minimally invasive drug delivery system that may be implemented to prevent and treat PTOA and other degenerative joint diseases as well.”

Injectable hydrogel can help chronic pain in joints
Injectable hydrogel can help chronic pain in joints

The main part of the solution is a compound that consists of polypeptides, proteins, and an anti-inflammatory growth factor called Atsttrin, which were fashioned into an injectable hydrogel. These compounds will make a porous network that provides a good biomechanical environment for the extended-release of anti-inflammatory growth factors and promote the regeneration of tissue.

The researchers successfully demonstrated this in vitro experiments and then through in vivo experiments on rabbits, where the hydrogel protected against the onset of PTOA in their anterior cruciate ligaments. Interestingly, the gel is not based on synthetic materials but proteins. So, the gel will be well-tolerated in the body and biodegrade within weeks.

Scientists believe that these astonishing results will provide a strong kernel for a new therapy not just for PTOA, but for other conditions such as damaged, inflamed joints.


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