Apr 28, 2017 09:44 AM EDT
A group of scientist has recently discovered a cartilage that combats inflammation of the joints. This spells a lot of hope for people who have been suffering from arthritis.
Scientists from the Washington University have created a breakthrough that will not ease the pain in arthritis patients but would eventually eliminate the disease. What the scientists did was got some skin cells from lab rats and created stem cells out of them.
After that, they used CRISPR to remove the gene that caused the inflammation and change it with new cells called Stem Cells Modified for Autonomous Regenerative Therapy or SMART. These cells release anti-inflammatory drugs that fight the inflammation.
Farshid Guilak, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the Washington University and the lead author of the study, said that they are hoping to create the stem cells into an arthritis vaccine. The smart cells deliver the anti-inflammatory drug to the inflamed joints but only when they are needed.
This means a lot for arthritis patients because most of the drugs available for arthritis affects the whole body instead of just specifically targeting the molecule tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which causes the inflammation. As a result, the immune system is adversely affected by the drug.
To solve this, the scientists replaced the genes that produce the TNF-alpha with genes that inhibit it. In other words, they transformed the inflammation causing genes to become the genes that fight the inflammation.
Jonathan Brunger, a postdoctoral fellow in cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco and the co-author of the study, said they forced the inflammatory pathway to create a protective drug and trained these cells to grow into cartilage.
The scientists are hoping that by injecting these new cartilages into areas affected by arthritis, they will grow and replace the old ones. More so, this new cartilage will just release anti-inflammatory drugs instead of molecules causing the inflammation.
The study is published in the journal Stem Cell Reports.
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