The development of osteoarthritis is a frequent sequel to the wear and tear that seems to be part of intense athletic performance.
Minimizing the impact and reversing the progression of osteoarthritis is a key focus of this laboratory. This program area is managed by "dual axis" therapy, employing direct injection of genes encoding growth factors to drive cartilage repair and a second gene to block joint destruction. Genes for insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) have been used in laboratory studies to examine their capability to reverse the effects of osteoarthritis. These projects for the first time provide hope that the irreversible changes and pain associated with osteoarthritis can be permanently suppressed, thereby avoiding the need for joint replacement therapies in man and animals.