New drug may help treat hand osteoarthritis

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More than 40% of individuals will develop osteoarthritis (OA) during their lifetime.

Hand (OA) is an extremely common form of OA and there are currently no disease-modifying treatments that effectively relieve symptoms or stop deformity and stiffness of the joints.

In a study from the University of Oxford, scientists found that Talarozole, a drug that is known to increase retinoic acid, was able to prevent hand (OA).

Hand OA is a common and debilitating medical condition that affects mainly women, especially around the time of menopause.

Doctors currently have no effective treatments that modify their disease.

The researchers started by investigating a common gene variant that had been linked to severe hand OA.

Using patient samples collected at the time of routine hand surgery, as well as a number of experimental models, they were able to identify a key molecule that was especially low in “at risk” individuals, called retinoic acid.

As talarozole has an acceptable safety profile in human participants, a small proof of concept clinical study is underway to see whether this drug might represent a new disease-modifying treatment in patients.

The team says despite often being dismissed as just a few aches and pains, OA can have a profound and far-reaching impact on life, affecting people’s ability to work, care for a family, or live independently.

There is an urgent need for disease-modifying treatments designed to prevent or reverse the painful symptoms of OA.

This study reveals a new understanding of the causes of hand osteoarthritis, which could lead to identifying new biological targets for intervention in hand OA.

With these encouraging findings, the researchers are a big step closer to being able to develop a new class of disease-modifying drugs to treat osteoarthritis, prevent chronic pain, and enable people to live well with the condition.

If you care about health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and drinking coffee is linked to increased longevity.

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The study was conducted by Tonia Vincent et al and published in Science Translational Medicine.

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