September 22, 2014 – Arthritis Help


Anchor lead: Can a new material restore pain-free joint movement? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Hyaluronic acid is the name of a molecule that helps your joints move smoothly. In people with osteoarthritis levels of this molecule are low, so attempts have been made to inject more into joints to alleviate pain.  But observations by Jennifer Elisseeff and colleagues at Johns Hopkins show that there’s also a problem on the joint surface, so they’ve developed a new material to help.

Elisseeff: What’s going on clinically now is injections of hyaluronic acid. The problem is once you inject it it goes away really fast. The surface of cartilage is designed to interact with hyaluronic acid. Unfortunately in disease you don’t have that interaction anymore, so what we’ve done is replicate that so the surface of the tissue can then interact.  We’ve taken a synthetic polymer but then also added to that a peptide that specifically binds hyaluronic acid.  :28

Elisseeff says research is underway to see if this material can improve joint function in osteoarthritis.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.