Silk Delivery for Arthritis


Tired of taking bunches of pills for arthritis?  Here’s an alternative… next

Better than a pill: Team to develop new arthritis treatment via silk

Erika Ebsworth-Goold writing in Medical Xpress reported a team of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis will use silk micro-particles to deliver long-lasting therapeutic compounds, helping better alleviate the pain of inflammation and injury.

“We’re starting to see that many areas can’t be reached via oral drug delivery,” said Lori Setton, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Setton, said an intracellular compound called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) is a main culprit in cellular breakdown, inflammation and pain after an injury. She’s working in the lab on a new solution using silk to deliver two specific molecules that can inhibit NF-kB at the site of a fracture or injury in an effort to stave off long-term joint damage.

“Silk naturally doesn’t interact with water, and, when you mix it with these molecules that also don’t interact with water, they bind to each other very strongly,” Setton said. “We believe these selective compounds are therapeutically effective, but we’ve never been able to get them to their target site. By delivering them with the silk, we hope to get large doses to the target site with low toxicity and to have them remain in that compartment for longer periods of time.”

Silk is an attractive delivery vehicle because of its long history of safe clinical use

According to Setton, the enhanced drug-delivery system has the potential to prevent the onset and progression of joint damage in patients suffering from acute injuries, like minor joint fractures, ligament or meniscal tears.

“Patients with joint trauma tend to go on to develop osteoarthritis at a higher rate compared to someone who doesn’t have the injury,” Setton said. “It’s a whole different type of arthritis development that we don’t know a whole lot about, but we believe we can intervene early with new drug delivery and treatments, and prevent onset at a later stage.”

Comment: Nice concept

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