A new ‘microcapsule’ treatment delivery method developed by researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) could reduce inflammation in cartilage affected by osteoarthritis and reverse damage to tissue. The research was funded by Arthritis Research UK and the AO Foundation.
A protein molecule called C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), which occurs naturally in the body, is known to reduce inflammation and aid in the repair of damaged tissue. However, CNP cannot be used to treat osteoarthritis in patients because it cannot target the damaged area even when the protein is injected into the cartilage tissue. This is because CNP is easily broken down and cannot reach the diseased site.
The researchers constructed tiny microcapsules, just 2 microns in diameter, with individual layers containing CNP that could release the protein slowly and therefore deliver the treatment in the most effective way.
In experiments on samples of cartilage taken from animals, they showed that the microcapsules could deliver the anti-inflammatory CNP in a highly effective way. The researchers believe that injections of microcapsules could in the future be used to heal damaged cartilage in people with osteoarthritis. The injections could be delivered easily by a GP.
Controlled release of C-type natriuretic peptide by microencapsulation dampens pro-inflammatory effects induced by IL-1? in cartilage explants, Chowdhury, T., Peake, N., Pavlov, A., D’Souza, A., Pinguan-Murphy, B., Sukhorukov, G., and Hobbs, A., Biomacromolecules, DOI: 10.1021/bm501575w, published online 4 January 2015.
Source: Queen Mary, University of London