Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Oil for the joints' offers hope for osteoarthritis sufferers

Date:
May 2, 2013
Source:
Boston University College of Engineering
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new polymer that promises longer relief for osteoarthritis sufferers than current treatment.

Natural polysaccharides (left) contain sugars linked by an ether, in contrast to the new polysaccharides that contain sugars linked by an amide (middle). The researchers are using a 3D computer model of the amide-linked polysaccharide (right) to understand how the new linkage affects the structure, and therefore the properties, of the new polysaccharide.
Credit: Eric L. Dane

A team of researchers led by a Boston University Biomedical Engineer has developed a new joint lubricant that could bring longer lasting relief to millions of osteoarthritis sufferers. The new synthetic polymer supplements synovial fluid, the natural lubricant in joints, and works better than comparable treatments currently available.

Related Articles


According to Professor Mark W. Grinstaff (BME, MSE, Chemistry), the best fluid supplement now available offers temporary symptom relief but provides inadequate lubrication to prevent further degradation of the cartilage surfaces that cushion the joint. To achieve both objectives, Grinstaff, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School orthopedic surgeon Brian Snyder and a team of Boston University chemistry and engineering students, fellows and clinicians have advanced the first synthetic synovial fluid. They describe the unique polymer and its performance in Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The most common form of joint disease and a leading cause of disability in the elderly, osteoarthritis (OA) affects about 27 million Americans and 200 million people worldwide. Characterized by pain and swelling, the disease emerges in hand, hip, knee and other commonly used joints where degradation of cartilage and synovial fluid results in bone-on-bone abrasion. Treatments range from anti-inflammatory drugs to total joint replacement. While there's no cure for OA, one treatment -- injection of a polymer to supplement synovial fluid in the joint -- promises to relieve symptoms and slow the disease's progression by reducing wear on cartilage surfaces.

"From our studies, we know our biopolymer is a superior lubricant in the joint, much better than the leading synovial fluid supplement, and similar to healthy synovial fluid," said Grinstaff. "When we used this new polymer, the friction between the two cartilage surfaces was lower, resulting in less wear and surface-to-surface interaction. It's like oil for the joints."

Originally produced last year for another study, the new polymer mimics some of the properties of natural polysaccharides, large compounds that link repetitive sequences of sugar molecules in a chainlike pattern.

"You put it between your fingers, and it's slippery," Grinstaff observed. "Once we made it, we wondered if we could use it as a lubricant and where it would be useful. That's how we thought of using it as a potential treatment for OA."

Another advantage of the biopolymer is its large molecular weight or size, which prevents it from seeping out of the joint, enabling longer lasting cartilage protection. Unlike the leading synovial fluid supplement, which lasts one or two days, the new polymer remains in the joint for more than two weeks.

The research is supported by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and Flex Biomedical, a startup cofounded by Grinstaff and Snyder.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University College of Engineering. The original article was written by Mark Dwortzan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eric L. Dane and Mark W. Grinstaff. Poly-amido-saccharides: Synthesis via Anionic Polymerization of a β-Lactam Sugar Monomer. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013 DOI: 10.1021/ja305900r

Cite This Page:

Boston University College of Engineering. "'Oil for the joints' offers hope for osteoarthritis sufferers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502185423.htm>.
Boston University College of Engineering. (2013, May 2). 'Oil for the joints' offers hope for osteoarthritis sufferers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502185423.htm
Boston University College of Engineering. "'Oil for the joints' offers hope for osteoarthritis sufferers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502185423.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins