A new study out of London is changing everything to do with a naturally occurring protein circulating in human blood, known as C-type natriuretic peptide, or ‘CNP’. CNP plays a role in the repair of damaged tissue and also reduces inflammation. Until now, there was little hope that it would be useful in conditions such as osteoarthritis (OA) since it breaks down so quickly upon entering the body. Even if high levels of concentrated CNP were injected into the knee joint, it would break down before reaching the damaged cartilage.
Now, bioengineers have successfully developed microcapsules composed of CNP which don’t break down as quickly and make delivery of this anti-inflammatory protein to damaged cartilage a realistic objective. The brilliant breakthrough made by Dr. Tina Chowdury and her team was to design a microcapsule composed of multiple, stacked layers of CNP.
This layered configuration slows the breakdown process and allows the protein to be released slowly at areas in need of its healing and anti-inflammatory effects.
Testing will continue
This microcapsule technology has already been tested on animal cartilage with promising results, opening the possibility that this new delivery method may play a role in healing damaged cartilage in people with knee osteoarthritis. Dr. Chowdhury is hopeful in her following statement — “If this method can be transferred to patients it could drastically slow the progression of osteoarthritis and even begin to repair damaged tissue.”
The Reflex Team also remains optimistic as new breakthroughs such as microcapsule technology come onto the horizon. Scientists and clinicians across the globe are racing to find a cure for osteoarthritis, and we are hopeful that one will be discovered in the near future.