Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Mon, February 2nd, 2015
While it’s not ready for prime time in human patients, a protein molecule called C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), which occurs naturally in the body, may eventually be used to treat osteoarthritis (OA). This protein, known to reduce inflammation and aid in the repair of damaged tissue, may one day be injected by general practitioners. The researchers, who hail from the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), say that CNP can’t yet be used in humans because it cannot target the damaged area, is easily broken down, and cannot reach the diseased site.
According to the January 21, 2014 news release, the researchers were led by Dr. Tina Chowdhury from QMUL’s School of Engineering and Materials Science. The team used an animal model and constructed tiny microcapsules, just two microns in diameter, with individual layers containing CNP that could release the protein slowly. One day, say the researchers, injections of microcapsules could in the future be used to heal damaged cartilage in people with osteoarthritis.