Cannabinoid Receptor Agonist May be Beneficial for RA

This next piece is highly unusual…
Cannabinoid Receptor Agonist May be Beneficial for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rachel Lutz writing for HCP live reported a treatment that targets the CB2 cannabinoid receptor may be an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and synovitis, according to research published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

A collaborative team of researchers from the United Kingdom investigated cannabinoid receptor isoform CB2 as a target for treatment for rheumatoid arthritis while reviewing current treatments available to patients. Anti-inflammatory effects were detected and might work together with existing therapies.

Comment: Far out!

Lower risk for heart failure with this group of drugs… next
TNF inhibitors lower risk of heart failure
Mary Jo Dales writing in Rheumatology News reported on a study from the University of Manchester and presented at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in Boston. The researchers compared two groups of patients; those on TNF inhibitors and those on traditional disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. They found the anti TNF group had a statistically significant lower risk of heart failure. The scientists surmised this was due to the profound reduction in inflammation in the anti-TNF group.
Comment: Encouraging news I believe.

An Arthritis Drug For Sciatica?
Injection could ease the agony associated with a slipped disc
Roger Dobson writing for the Daily Mail reported doctors are using a type of arthritis drug, adalimumab- also known as Humira- to treat sciatica – the pain associated with a slipped disc. The drug seeks out and ‘silences’ compounds involved in inflammation – and early trials show that it can banish pain completely.
Studies suggest that people with sciatica also have high levels of TNF, which contributes to the pain of the condition.
In one study of 49 sciatica patients at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, around half of the patients who received a similar drug to block TNF had a 100 per cent reduction in leg pain, compared with a placebo.
Comment: Interesting. Hope this research pans out.

Fat… how does that help your knees? Next
Fat-derived stem cells effective for osteoarthritis
Recent advances in tissue engineering have pointed towards the fact that adipose tissue may be a richer source of adult stem cells than other sources. In addition, they have a mixed population of multipotent and regenerative cells that may be more effective from a tissue repair point of view. These cells have been shown to modulate inflammation, increase the formation of blood vessels, and repair connective tissue. A recent Korean study demonstrated cartilage repair using second look arthroscopy at two years following adipose stem cell treatment.
Comment: Adipose derived stem cells are intriguing. I know my female patients are interested since a liposuction is required to harvest enough fat for stem cell procedures.

An epidemic that will break the bank… next
$87 Billion Dollars For Total Knee Replacements by 2030?
Reported in Blood Cure… We have an epidemic of knee arthritis in the United States with over 10 million affected Americans. Many treatments are prescribed with variable efficacy for this common problem. When all else fails, knee replacement is often recommended. This procedure is overall highly successful but also expensive.

In 2009, the CDC reported the estimated costs of knee replacement in the US to be $28.5 billion dollars. Published reports suggest there will be a need for almost 3.5 million knee replacements in the United States by 2030. At a conservative total cost of $25,000 per surgery, that translates into $87 billion dollars. So, the projections suggest the costs will triple over the next 15 years.

That is $87 Billion Dollars just in the United States to treat end-stage knee arthritis. That is just the cost of knee replacements. It does not include other surgical or non-operative costs. It also doesn’t include treatment of other potentially arthritic joints such as the hip or shoulder.
Comment: Obviously there is the need to find a better solution. Biotherapies such as stem cells are the areas where we need more progress.

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