By: 5 June 2019
Taking steps towards injectable hydrogel for knee osteoarthritis

The Developmental BioEngineering group of the University of Twente is working on a promising breakthrough in the treatment of osteoarthritis, the most common form of rheumatoid arthritis. The research group is continuing its groundbreaking work on an injectable therapy for osteoarthritis in the knee, and is progressing towards first tests in patients. The group intends to further improve the therapy by including stem cells in the injectable hydrogel to further facilitate cartilage regrowth.

ReumaNederland, funding Dutch research in osteoarthritis, hopes that by joining forces with Research Centres of Excellence they will bring about a breakthrough in its treatment. A total of seven university research groups in the Netherlands are to be designated Osteoarthritis Research Centres of Excellence, and ReumaNederland is awarding a total of €3.8m in research funding to these Centres.

Professor Marcel Karperien, head of the Research Centre of Excellence at the University of Twente, said: “The injectable hydrogel therapy is already under development, and the results so far have been very encouraging. We want to use the next five years to further improve our hydrogel technology for treatment of osteoarthrits, but we also intent to begin with tests in patients. Thanks to this support from ReumaNederland we expect to start the first tests in ten patient within one or two years.”

Lodewijk Ridderbos, general director of ReumaNederland, said: “We need osteoarthritis treatments that make a real difference to people’s complaints and limitations. An injectable therapy to remedy cartilage defects would be an important step in that direction, so we are looking forward to seeing the results of Professor Marcel Karperien’s research work. The treatment of osteoarthritis needs breakthroughs in scientific research that could help to reduce pain and improve mobility in osteoarthritis patients.”

Source: University of Twente