According to Boston University Professor of Biomedical Engineering Mark W. Grinstaff, the best fluid supplement now available offers temporary symptom relief but provides inadequate lubrication to prevent further degradation of the cartilage surfaces that cushion the joint.
To achieve both objectives, Grinstaff, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School orthopedic surgeon Brian Snyder and a team of Boston University chemistry and engineering students, fellows and clinicians have advanced the first synthetic synovial fluid. They describe the unique polymer and its performance in Journal of the American Chemical Society.
The most common form of joint disease and a leading cause of disability in the elderly, osteoarthritis (OA) affects about 27 million Americans and 200 million people worldwide. Characterized by pain and swelling, the disease emerges in hand, hip, knee and other commonly used joints where degradation of cartilage and synovial fluid results in bone-on-bone abrasion. Treatments range from anti-inflammatory drugs to total joint replacement. While there's no cure for OA, one treatment—injection of a polymer to supplement synovial fluid in the joint—promises to relieve symptoms and slow the disease's progression by reducing wear on cartilage surfaces.
"From our studies, we know our biopolymer is a superior lubricant in the joint, much better than the leading synovial fluid supplement, and similar to healthy synovial fluid," said Grinstaff. "When we used this new polymer, the friction between the two cartilage surfaces was lower, resulting in less wear and surface-to-surface interaction. It's like oil for the joints."
Originally produced last year for another study, the new polymer mimics some of the properties of natural polysaccharides, large compounds that link repetitive sequences of sugar molecules in a chainlike pattern.
"You put it between your fingers, and it's slippery," Grinstaff observed. "Once we made it, we wondered if we could use it as a lubricant and where it would be useful. That's how we thought of using it as a potential treatment for OA."
Another advantage of the biopolymer is its large molecular weight or size, which prevents it from seeping out of the joint, enabling longer lasting cartilage protection. Unlike the leading synovial fluid supplement, which lasts one or two days, the new polymer remains in the joint for more than two weeks.
The research is supported by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and Flex Biomedical, a startup cofounded by Grinstaff and Snyder.
Michael Seele | EurekAlert!
Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State
NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology
07.12.2016 | Nanyang Technological University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences