Potential future therapies for osteoarthritis pain
What is it about?
This review examines the limitations of existing treatments for osteoarthritis (OA) and introduces the latest understanding of the complex mechanisms behind OA pain, which offers exciting new possibilities and potential new treatment targets.
Why is it important?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis; yet unfortunately, the most effective treatment currently available for improving quality of life is total joint replacement. Recent patents registered suggest that areas of future OA therapies could target inflammation, bone and cartilage, nerves, tissue engineering and dietary supplements. Due to the multiple mechanisms of the disease, drug treatments alone may not work and instead require combining with psychological and physiotherapeutic approaches. The potential of biomarkers such as X-rays, MRIs and ultrasounds, alongside genetic and blood tests to both predict pain and to identify patients most likely to benefit from specific treatment is explored. Combining biomarkers which cross different disciplinary boundaries might increase their value in predicting treatment need or outcome. Through increased understanding of the mechanisms that underlie OA pain, new drugs could also come from re-purposing those developed for other conditions as well as novel compounds which target pain mechanisms specific to the joint.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Joanne Stocks