Osteoarthrosis is a degenerative joint disease associated with wear and tear, aging and painful irritations resultant as restrictions in the joint flexibility and mobility in general. Currently osteoarthritis therapies merely are able to treat the symptoms, but cannot reverse the progress of the disease. The Department of Health Sciences, Medicine and Research at Danube University Krems is developing a new, more regenerative therapy approach and investigating the effect of endogenous blood products on the healing of cartilage damage and arthrosis.
Approximately 15 percent of the global population is affected by the chronic degenerative disease osteoarthritis. Characteristically the cartilage progressively breaks down, leaving the patients in pain, suffering from disability and being severely restricted in everyday life. Up to now, the disease is treated with painkillers and dietary supplements, conservatively with physiotherapy or surgically by replacing the joint with prostheses. A causal therapy of joint degeneration aiming to regenerate the joint surface has not been achieved until now.
A research group at the Department of Health Sciences, Medicine and Research, headed by Prof. Dr. Stefan Nehrer, is working on a new regenerative therapy approach as part of a research project financed by the State of Lower Austria.
Blood products and their regenerative potential
Andrea De Luna-Preitschopf, PhD, project manager, explains: "By centrifuging and filtrating endogenous blood various products such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or hyperacute (hypACT) serum (OrthoSera GmbH) are obtained. Among other things, these products contain special growth factors that stimulate or accelerate the healing of cartilage damage. Currently we are analyzing the blood product’s individual components giving special attention to extracellular vesicles to gain insights of their regenerative potential".
Serum could improve mobility
A procedure, jointly developed by Danube University Krems and OrthoSera GmbH, enables the application of this therapy approach in practice. "The patient’s drawn blood is centrifuged. Subsequently a special separation procedure generates a serum which is then injected into the diseased joint," says university professor Stefan Nehrer.
Apart from existing blood products, this new method of producing endogenous blood products might lead for a large number of patients to a relief of the joint disease and thus restore their quality of life and mobility.
The project "The Role of Microvesicles from Blood Derived Products in Osteoarthritis" is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
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