SeniorJournal.com - Daily News for Senior Citizens

  FRONT PAGE Aging • Health • Alzheimer's - Mental • Nutrition • Medicare & Medicaid Politics  • Fitness  • Social Security • Alerts • Sex Health • Features • Retirement  Elder Care  >Search  >Senior Links

[NavBar.htm]

Senior Journal: Today's News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

More Senior Citizen News and Information Than Any Other Source - SeniorJournal.com

• Go to more on Health & Medicine or More Senior News from SeniorJournal.com on the Front Page

   

E-mail this page to a friend!

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

New Injectable Gel Shows Promise for Treating Millions with Arthritis

Half of senior citizens – aged 65 and over – suffer with arthritis, one of most common causes of disability

A potentially new way to treat arthritis - new gel (red, with yellow rectangles representing encapsulated medicine) is injected into an arthritic joint. There enzymes (black image) associated with arthritis break down the biodegradable gel, releasing the medicine. Courtesy: Praveen Vemula, Karp lab, BWH

April 13, 2011 - Some 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or its cousin osteoarthritis, diseases characterized by often debilitating pain in the joints. At least half of all senior citizens suffer with some form of arthritis. Now researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) report an injectable gel that could be a key to future treatment these diseases.

Among its advantages, the gel could allow the targeted release of medicine at an affected joint, and could dispense that medicine on demand in response to enzymes associated with arthritic flare-ups.

“We think that this platform could be useful for multiple medical applications including the localized treatment of cancer, ocular disease, and cardiovascular disease,” said Jeffrey Karp, leader of the research and co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at BWH.

Karp will present the findings April 15 at the annual meeting of the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) as part of winning the coveted  SFB Young Investigator Award for this work. The work was also reported by Karp and colleagues in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research (JBMR): Part A, and is currently available on the journal’s website.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Study Finds Treatment of Senior Citizens with Rheumatoid Arthritis is Unacceptable

Wide variations found in Medicare Managed Care patients receipt of recommended drug therapy: see video

Feb. 1, 2011

Mayo Clinic Researchers Determine Your Lifetime Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Also calculate risk for five other autoimmune rheumatic diseases for women and men - watch video - Jan. 6, 2011

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis Appears to Cause Big Jump in Heart Attack Risk

Average age at diagnosis was just under 57 and 71% of the patients with RA were women

Dec. 6, 2010

Senior Citizens with Knee Osteoarthritis May Find Pain Relief from Battery-Operated Device

Low-intensity pulsating electromagnetic frequency relieved pain in first day for 40% in study

March 8, 2010

FDA Approves New Drug for Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis

Actemra’s recommended use is limited to patients who have failed other approved therapies because of serious safety concerns

Jan. 12, 2010


 
 

Read the latest news
> Health & Medicine
>
Today's Headlines

 

Local Delivery

Arthritis is a good example of a disease that attacks specific parts of the body. Conventional treatments for it, however, largely involve drugs taken orally. Not only do these take a while (often weeks) to exert their effects, they can have additional side effects. That is because the drug is dispersed throughout the body, not just at the affected joint. Further, high concentrations of the drug are necessary to deliver enough to the affected joint, which runs the risk of toxicity.

“There are many instances where we would like to deliver drugs to a specific location, but it’s very challenging to do so without encountering major barriers,” says Karp, who also holds appointments through Harvard Medical School (HMS), Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST).

For example, you could inject a drug into the target area, but it won’t last long--only minutes to hours--because it is removed by the body’s highly efficient lymphatic system. What about implantable drug-delivery devices? Most of these are composed of stiff materials that in a dynamic environment like a joint can rub and cause inflammation on their own. Further, most of these devices release medicine continuously--even when it’s not needed. Arthritis, for example, occurs in cycles characterized by flare-ups then remission.

Two of the researchers stand next to a graphic describing their approach - Praveen Kumar Vemula of BWH and Jeffrey Karp, co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at BWH. Photo by Donna Coveney

Toward the Holy Grail

“The Holy Grail of drug delivery is an autonomous system that [meters] the amount of drug released in response to a biological stimulus, ensuring that the drug is released only when needed at a therapeutically relevant concentration,” Karp and colleagues write in JBMR. His coauthors are Praveen Kumar Vemula, Nathaniel Campbell, and Abdullah Syed of BWH, HMS and HSCI; Eric Boilard (now at Université Laval), Melaku Muluneh, and David Weitz of Harvard University; and David Lee of BWH, currently at Novartis. Karp notes the key involvement of Lee, a doctor who is “treating patients with the problem we’re trying to solve.”

The researchers tackled the problem by first determining the key criteria for a successful locally administered arthritis treatment. In addition to having the ability to release drug on demand, for example, the delivery vehicle should be injectable through a small needle and allow high concentrations of the drug. The team ultimately determined that an injectable gel seemed most promising.

Next step: what would the gel be made of? To cut the time involved in bringing a new technology to market, the team focused only on materials already designated by the Food and Drug Administration as being generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in humans.

Ultimately, they discovered a GRAS material that could be coaxed into self-assembling into a drug-containing gel. “The beauty of self-assembly is that whatever exists in solution during the assembly process--in this case, a drug--becomes entrapped,” says Vemula, first author of the paper, who also has an appointment at HST.

They further expected that the same material would disassemble, releasing its drug payload, when exposed to the enzymes present during inflammations like those associated with arthritis.

Promising Results

A series of experiments confirmed this. For example, the team created a gel containing a dye as a stand-in for a drug, then exposed it to enzymes associated with arthritis. The drug was released. Further, the addition of agents that inhibited the enzymes stopped the release, indicating that the gel “can release encapsulated agents in an on-demand manner,” the researchers write. Although the team has yet to test this in humans, they did find that dye was also released in response to synovial fluid taken from arthritic human joints.

Among other promising results, the researchers found that gel injected into the healthy joints of mice remained stable for at least two months. Further, the gel withstood wear and tear representative of conditions in a moving joint.

Additional tests in mice are underway. The technique has yet to be demonstrated in humans, but the researchers write that it “should have broad implications for the localized treatment of many…diseases” caused by the enzymatic destruction of tissues.

The researchers have applied for a patent on the work, which was sponsored by the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) through the U.S. Army and by the Harvard Catalyst Program.

For More Information about Arthritis

Here are some helpful resources:

American College of Rheumatology/
Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals

1800 Century Place, Suite 250
Atlanta, GA 30345-4300
1-404-633-3777
www.rheumatology.org

Arthritis Foundation
P.O. Box 7669
Atlanta, GA 30357-0669
1-800-283-7800 (toll-free)
or check the telephone directory for your local chapter
www.arthritis.org

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
NIAMS Information Clearinghouse
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
1-877-226-4267 (toll-free)
1-301-565-2966 (TTY)
www.niams.nih.gov

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
NCCAM Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 7923
Gaithersburg, MD 20898
1-888-644-6226 (toll-free)
1-866-464-3615 (TTY/toll-free)
www.nccam.nih.gov

To get the NIA’s exercise guide or Beware of Health Scams or for more information on health and aging, contact:

National Institute on Aging
Information Center

P.O. Box 8057
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057
1-800-222-2225 (toll-free)
1-800-222-4225 (TTY/toll-free)
www.nia.nih.gov
www.nia.nih.gov/Espanol

To sign up for regular email alerts about new publications and other information from the NIA, visit www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation.

Visit NIHSeniorHealth (www.nihseniorhealth.gov), a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine. This website has health information for older adults. Special features make it simple to use. For example, you can click on a button to have the text read out loud or to make the type larger.

National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

July 2009 Last Update Aug. 6, 2009

>> Click to latest from Institute on Aging


About Arthritis (MedlinePlus)

If you feel pain and stiffness in your body or have trouble moving around, you might have arthritis. Most kinds of arthritis cause pain and swelling in your joints. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. Over time, a swollen joint can become severely damaged. Some kinds of arthritis can also cause problems in your organs, such as your eyes or skin.

One type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is often related to aging or to an injury. Other types occur when your immune system, which normally protects your body from infection, attacks your body's own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of this kind of arthritis. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a form of the disease that happens in children. Infectious arthritis is an infection that has spread from another part of the body to the joint.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

About Rheumatoid Arthritis (MedlinePlus)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. More women than men get rheumatoid arthritis. It often starts between ages 25 and 55. You might have the disease for only a short time, or symptoms might come and go. The severe form can last a lifetime.

Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis, the common arthritis that often comes with older age. RA can affect body parts besides joints, such as your eyes, mouth and lungs. RA is an autoimmune disease, which means the arthritis results from your immune system attacking your body's own tissues.

No one knows what causes rheumatoid arthritis. Genes, environment and hormones might contribute. Treatments include medicine, lifestyle changes and surgery. These can slow or stop joint damage and reduce pain and swelling.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

About Autoimmune Diseases (MedlinePlus)

Your body's immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune diseases can affect many parts of the body. These diseases tend to run in families. Women - particularly African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American women - have a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases.

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and some have similar symptoms. This makes it hard for your health care provider to know if you really have one of these diseases, and if so, which one. Getting diagnosed can be frustrating and stressful. In many people, the first symptoms are being tired, muscle aches and low fever.

The diseases may also have flare-ups, when they get worse, and remissions, when they all but disappear. The diseases do not usually go away, but symptoms can be treated.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

 

> Medical Malpractice,

> Nursing Home Abuse,

> Personal Injury

Our Experienced Lawyers Can Help

Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney"We win because we care, we prepare and we have no fear," Beth Janicek, board certified personal injury attorney

 

Free Consultation on your case.

Call Now Toll Free

1-877-795-3425

or Send Email

More at our Website

 

 

Search for more about this topic on SeniorJournal.com

Google Web SeniorJournal.com

Keep up with the latest news for senior citizens, baby boomers

 

Click to More Senior News on the Front Page

Copyright: SeniorJournal.com

    

 

Published by New Tech Media - www.NewTechMedia.com

Other New Tech Media sites include CaroleSutherland.com, BethJanicek.com, SASeniors.com, DrugDanger.com, etc.