Current research on pharmacologic and regenerative therapies for osteoarthritis
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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disorder commonly encountered in clinical practice, and is the leading cause of disability in elderly people. Due to the poor self-healing capacity of articular cartilage and lack of specific diagnostic biomarkers, OA is a challenging disease with limited treatment options. Traditional pharmacologic therapies such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and opioids are effective in relieving pain but are incapable of reversing cartilage damage and are frequently associated with adverse events. Current research focuses on the development of new OA drugs (such as sprifermin/recombinant human fibroblast growth factor-18, tanezumab/monoclonal antibody against ß-nerve growth factor), which aims for more effectiveness and less incidence of adverse effects than the traditional ones. Furthermore, regenerative therapies (such as autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI), new generation of matrix-induced ACI, cell-free scaffolds, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells or iPSCs), and endogenous cell homing) are also emerging as promising alternatives as they have potential to enhance cartilage repair, and ultimately restore healthy tissue. However, despite currently available therapies and research advances, there remain unmet medical needs in the treatment of OA. This review highlights current research progress on pharmacologic and regenerative therapies for OA including key advances and potential limitations.
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