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