Osteoarthritis is a common condition that can affect any joint in the body particularly after years of use. It is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis and most commonly occurs in people who are 55 years of age or older. Some 33 million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis, and it is the leading cause of physical disability.
Despite its prevalence, the effectiveness of currently available treatments is limited. Patients suffering from degenerative joint disease either go through a total joint replacement, or are forced to live with pain every day” says lead researcher Greg Jay, M.D., Ph.D., of Brown University.
Adding Lubricin, a protein that our bodies naturally produce, to the fluid in our joints may reduce the risk of, or even prevent osteoarthritis.
The Ultimate Friction Fighter
Lubricin is naturally found in our body as part of the synovial fluid, the viscous substance that cushions and lubricates our joints. It is critical to normal joint function because it allows two adjacent cartilage caps to glide upon one another with minimal friction under conditions of high contact pressure, as happens when we run, jump or bend.
Lubricin is lost over time as a result of injury, exercise and aging. Without lubricin to lubricate and cushion joints, our joints may become painful and inflamed and there may be degenerative changes.
We are working to create a replacement for natural lubricin that we hope will significantly improve the treatment options, and ultimately prevention measures, for those with early osteoarthritis, or those with joint injuries.Gregory D. Jay, MD, PhD, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, department of emergency medicine and the Center for Biomedical Engineering and the School of Engineering, Brown University.
The administration of recombinant lubricin in the joint cavity restores normal cartilage boundary lubrication function, keeping the joint cushioned and lubricated, and protecting against the wear and tear commonly caused by injury, exercise and advancing age.
Importantly, Lubricin therapy not only decreases the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis, it controls the progression of the disease process.