Israelis develop nanotech relief from pain of osteoarthritis

The innovative technology will be presented at a joint workshop of Israeli and Chinese scientists at the Technion.

By
June 9, 2009 22:13
2 minute read.
Israelis develop nanotech relief from pain of osteoarthritis

nanotechnology 248 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Injections of tiny globules of fat using nanotechnology have been proposed by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to treat the degenerative disease osteoarthritis, the erosion of cartilage in the joints. The innovative technology will be presented next week at a joint workshop of Israeli and Chinese scientists at the Technion's campus in Haifa. There are about 27 million osteoarthritis patients in the US alone, and it is estimated that 80% of the population will have radiographic evidence of the disease by the age of 65. The researchers aim to help osteoarthritis patients avoid surgery to replace damaged hip joints and minimize pain by injecting the liposomes into the joints. The liposomes were developed by Hebrew University biochemistry Prof. Yechezkel Barenholz, a world-renowned expert in lipsome fat globules who co-developed Doxil, the world's first approved nanotechnology medicine for slow-release of chemotherapy for breast and ovarian cancer that is in the process of being authorized for other cancers as well. Nanotechnology deals with structures on the molecular or atomic scale of 100 nanometers - one billionth of a meter - or smaller. In the experimental treatment, globules of phospholipids would be injected into the joint. "Cartilage is only two millimeters thick," says Prof. Yitzhak Etzion from the Technion's mechanical engineering faculty. "It is sponge-like material that separates the bones of the joint and allows them to move with minimal friction between them." The joint space contains synovial fluid aimed at lubricating the joint. But when this fluid is inflammatory and not healthy, the cartilage becomes eroded, and the bones are in direct contact. This results in severe pain and limitation of physical movement. Major surgery is conventionally used to replace the sick joint. But now Barenholz and Etzion have joined together to delay or prevent the operation by reducing damage to the cartilage. Currently, doctors inject the joint with hyaluronic acid, which is meant to improve lubrication - but there is no medical evidence that it in fact ameliorates the problem. As Barenholz has long been developing liposomes, these fatty microparticles will be used to minimize friction. Etzion tested the liposomes in his lab with large and small pieces of bone and cartilage facing each other. They are paired in a physiological liquid in which nanolipids float. The pieces are circulated under pressure as a model of how hip joints move. Thus they were able to test the efficacy of the fatty globules in minimizing friction and erosion of the cartilage and bones. Tests showed that the pace of erosion decreased by 40 percent when liposomes were added to hyaluronic acid compared to hyaluronic acid alone. The two scientists registered a patent on their technology and established a company based on it. Their findings were published recently in the scientific journal Wear.

Related Content

[illustrative photo]
September 24, 2011
Diabetes may significantly increase risk of dementia

By UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN HEALTH SYSTEM