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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Apr 2023 - 21 Apr 2023


Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Arthritis, Inflammation/Inflammatory

2023 Apr 17



Innovation in Targeted Intra-articular Therapies for Osteoarthritis.


Assi R, Quintiens J, Monteagudo S, Lories RJ


Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint disease characterized by progressive damage to the joints, leading to pain and loss of function. There is currently no cure or disease-modifying therapy for osteoarthritis. Hence, the increasing disease prevalence linked with ageing and obesity represents a substantial socio-economic burden. Intra-articular therapy by injection of drugs into affected joints can optimize local drug bioavailability, while reducing risks of systemic toxicity, a concern in an ageing patient population. In this review, we investigate the current landscape of intra-articular drug therapies for osteoarthritis, including established approaches and those in clinical development. We performed a literature review using PubMed, complemented with a search for clinical trials using the ClinicalTrials.gov repository. Additionally, conference abstracts and presentations were identified and systematic snowballing was applied. Identified drugs were divided into several groups by main mechanism of action, and include drugs that reduce inflammation (anti-inflammatory), drugs aiming to prevent or reverse structural damage (structure modifying), drugs that aim to reduce the pain, and other drugs with a specific target. Most studies have been performed for osteoarthritis of the knee, a joint that is easily accessible for intra-articular treatments. Optimal therapy would provide symptomatic relief, while preventing further damage to the joint. The field of intra-articular drug therapies for osteoarthritis is rapidly evolving with clear challenges identified: definition of relevant outcome measures, optimization of clinical trial set-ups, and dealing with placebo responses. While many uncertainties persist, it appears that the innovation in drug development and improved clinical trial set-up may finally deliver successful therapies for this important disease.