Injectable Hydrogel Delivers Drugs To Joints Damaged From Osteoarthritis

Apr, 2022 - By WMR

Injectable Hydrogel Delivers Drugs To Joints Damaged From Osteoarthritis

Researchers created a new type of gel that is capable of preventing the onset of osteoarthritis, as it delivers drugs in the damaged knee joints and stops inflammation

Osteoarthritis affected more than 32 million people in the U.S. caused due to gradual deterioration of the joints, injuries articulating cartilage covering the bones’ end. Researchers at New York University created an injectable hydrogel that can prevent the development of osteoarthritis, as it can deliver drugs to the damaged knee joints and stop inflammation.

The researchers in this new study focused on a type of osteoarthritis known as post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) that occurs due to damage to a joint. This type of osteoarthritis accounts for 10% of cases and is observed in military personnel. The team of scientists at NYU developed ideal therapeutic payload and a medium to deliver it to stop the development of PTOA. The team used a compound consisting of polypeptides, anti-inflammatory growth factor known as Atsttrin, and proteins. These substances were then made into an injectable polymer gel. Reportedly, these compounds create a porous network at body temperature providing the ideal biomechanical environment for the anti-inflammatory growth factors to be released continuously and promoting the tissue regeneration.   

Furthermore, the team demonstrated this through in vitro experiments and through in vivo experiments conducted on rabbits. It was found that the gel was able to protect the joints from progression of PTOA in the anterior cruciate ligaments of the animals. Moreover, as the gel is made from proteins instead of synthetic materials, thus, it can be tolerated and can biodegrade in weeks in the body. The study needs more work to determine the ideal dosage for other scenarios. As per the team, the results of the study could help to develop potential treatment for PTOA and even for other conditions.

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