By: 20 June 2014

shutterstock_87807355Researchers are aiming to develop new therapies for osteoarthritis by rejuvenating old stem cells to repair cartilage damage.

As reported by The Northern Echo, a research team at York University have been awarded £190,158 from the medical research charity Arthritis Research UK to carry out a three-year study to investigate how rejuvenated cells from older people with osteoarthritis can be used to repair worn or damaged cartilage, reducing chronic pain.

There is currently no treatment to prevent the progression of osteoarthritis, and people with severe disease often need total joint replacement surgery.
Dr Paul Genever, lead researcher, who heads up the Arthritis Research UK Tissue Engineering Centre at the University of York, said: “A way to ‘reset’ stem cells to an earlier time point, termed rejuvenation, has recently been discovered, allowing more effective tissue repair.

“This project will firstly compare rejuvenated and non-rejuvenated stem cells to see if the process improves cartilage repair, and secondly, investigate whether it is possible to develop new drugs which are able to rejuvenate stem cells.”

In the UK, more than 8 million people have sought treatment from their GP for the condition, which causes pain and stiffness in the joints due to cartilage at the ends of bones wearing away.

Professor Alan Silman, medical director at charity Arthritis Research UK, said: “This is pioneering research, which has the potential to help reduce pain and disability and improve quality of life of those living with osteoarthritis.”

Junior editor at Fintech Intel