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Arthritis treatment gives hope for human cure

A treatment for osteoarthritis, which has been successful in dogs and horses, is being tried on a zoo gorilla as a potential treatment for humans.

Researchers led by the University of Sheffield, UK, transferred stem cells from a healthy gorilla into 46-year old Liesel, at Budapest Zoo, Hungary, who is suffering from osteoarthritis, a painful disease of the joints that affects both animals and people.

The team injected stem cells, that are involved in repairing skeletal tissue, such as bone and cartilage, into Liesel’s left hip and knee joints (pictured) and are now closely monitoring her recovery.

It comes after Budapest Zoo’s recent collaboration with medical technology company Stem CellX, to provide this arthritis treatment for the zoo’s animals, with Liesel believed to be the first primate to benefit from the approach.

Stem CellX has previously managed to cure dogs of their arthritis in this way, and it is currently being tested in a preclinical trial.

Professor Mark Wilkinson at Sheffield said: “This work is in its very early stages, but hopefully it will lead to a real solution for patients to the pain and suffering that arthritis causes.”


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