Osteoarthritis affects more than 32 million Americans. While the majority of cases are due to the gradual degradation of joints from normal use, roughly 10% are caused by injury to the articular cartilage. A recent New Atlas article contained good news for folks who fall in the latter category and experience what is called post-traumatic osteoarthritis, or PTOA.
While there are medications to help treat the pain, there are no therapeutics to halt the progression of the condition. The main reason is the difficulty of delivering a drug to the affected joints, and keeping it there long enough to calm the inflammation and promote cartilage regeneration.
A team of researchers at NYU developed an injectable hydrogel that aims to halt the onset of PTOA. The polymer gel consists of polypeptides, proteins and Atsttrin, an anti-inflammatory growth factor. Together they form a network that’s the optimal environment to prevent healing and regeneration.