Osteoarthritis (OA), is the most common form of arthritis and it is considered one of the most disabling diseases in developed countries. It affects 240 million people globally and its prevalence is increasing, and the increase of its risk factors suggest that the increasing prevalence is expected to continue, together with both personal and societal economic costs due to healthcare use. Its symptoms cause a significant impact in day-to-day function, leading to loss of independence and reduced quality of life. Currently, there are no drugs approved which prevent, treat or even restrain OA progression. The available treatments focus on diminishing pain, reducing the symptoms without providing a cure for OA. Thus, there is an imperative need for developing treatments that instead of focusing on reducing the symptoms of OA, target the illness itself providing means for tissue regeneration and avoid the need for invasive surgical procedures.
Based on the paradigm of regenerative medicine, we present a tissue engineered construct, with a great potential to be used as scaffold and provide a suitable environment for osteochondral repair and regeneration, thanks to its both osteogenic and chondrogenic induction potential. Thus, our approach focuses on treating the illness itself and it is specially indicated for relative early OA stages, as it promotes tissue regeneration and cartilage formation. It has potential to avoid highly invasive surgical procedures such as total knee replacement (TKR), as well as it reduces the symptoms associated with the illness.
Anna Mas Vinyals
Institut Quimic de Sarria, Barcelona