Cartilage repair models

UK scientists have created a new way to regrow knee cartilage and improve joint pain in animals with osteoarthritis.

In studies, using mice and sheep, the team at Queen Mary, University of London, UK, found that a molecule called agrin can be used to treat injuries to the cartilage and bone.

The findings, published in Science Translational Medicine, show that when injecting agrin into the joints of mice, it activates cells and instructs them to repair the damage.

In another study, they found that a molecule named ROR2 is absent in healthy cartilage but is produced after injury and contributes to cartilage breakdown in osteoarthritis.

By blocking ROR2 in a mouse model, they observed rapid and clear pain relief.

“If this approach works in humans, we expect that a simple knee injection or some keyhole surgery will be enough to heal cartilage defects and prevent further damage,” authors said in The Conversation.

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