Osteoarthritis: A New Molecule Shows Ability in the Fight Against the Disease

After several years of research, a new track could finally fight effectively against knee osteoarthritis. The molecule, called LNA043, would allow the regeneration of cartilage. A first trial on humans is conclusive.

Finally, a beginning of an answer to the fight against osteoarthritis? We can only hope so. Unfortunately, this joint disease affects up to 10 million French people and has no curative treatment. Only symptomatic treatments to reduce pain (analgesics, anti-inflammatories, or infiltrations) can now be offered to those who suffer from it (beyond using a knee prosthesis). 

But a study recently published in the journal nature could change that. It takes as subject the LNA 043 molecule identified by the Novartis laboratory, which would boost the repair properties of chondrocytes and cartilage cells to promote regeneration.

An encouraging phase 1 Trial in knee osteoarthritis

The study mentioned retraces all the stages of research around this molecule, LNA043, a derivative of Angio-pointing-like 3, the effect of which is discovered. In contrast, thousands of molecules are being evaluated. Its role is first tested in vitro, then in animals, and finally in humans in a phase 1 trial.

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28 patients with knee osteoarthritis awaiting a prosthesis received an intra-articular injection of LNA043 or placebo 2 hours, 7 days, or 21 days before total knee arthroplasty. With a convincing result in these subjects with very advanced knee osteoarthritis.

The advantage of performing this injection before the operation is that they could measure on the removed cartilage that the LNA043 molecule had an effect, according to the press release.

For the first time, an injection achieves a reconstitution of the cartilage.

Each year, laboratories test hundreds of molecules in tubes on different diseases. But for the first time, a molecule would have an anti-inflammatory effect that makes it possible to block specific pathways in the chondrocyte. This critical cartilage cell builds and destroys it. 

Concretely, he explains that this molecule acts by asking the chondrocyte to stop the destruction and promote the formation of good-quality cartilage,” he explains.

Hope for all those affected by knee osteoarthritis. “It’s very interesting, yes, it’s the first time that a molecule has managed to reconstitute cartilage,” admits the rheumatologist. However, it is better at this stage to remain cautious:

The discovery, however, gives hope. As the rheumatologist reminds us, osteoarthritis’s impact goes well beyond pain for those who suffer from it: the loss of function and difficulty in walking also significantly reduce life expectancy.

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