There’s nothing fun about cartilage wearing down and bones rubbing together. Can you say ouch? The only refuge from arthritis today comes from either pain killers, which often have negative side effects, or complex joint replacement surgery. But hope is on the horizon for sufferers, thanks to a breakthrough study at the University of Manchester, where professor Sue Kimber and her team may have developed a cure for arthritis .

The researchers transformed embryonic stem cells into cartilage cells and injected them into rats with defective joints. The results were “amazing.” Within four weeks the cartilage was partially repaired and by twelve weeks the high-quality new tissue looked pretty much normal.

On top of that, the scientists, whose work is funded by Arthritis Research UK, were thrilled to discover no signs of any side-effects.Japanese-woman-plasticboystudio_PhotoJUNKY

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Kimber is hopeful that, although in the early experimental stages, the research will lead to an inexpensive treatment that is applicable to a greater number of arthritis patients.

”Current treatments of osteoarthritis are restricted to relieving painful symptoms, with no effective therapies to delay or reverse cartilage degeneration,” said Arthritis Research UK Director Dr. Stephen Simpson. “Joint replacements are successful in older patients, but not young people, or athletes who’ve suffered a sports injury.”

The researchers are excited about the immense potential of Kimber’s work. Developing and testing this process in rats is the first step in generating the information needed to run a study in people with arthritis.Vertigo remedy CarolFosterVid

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The degenerative joint disease is estimated to effect more than 630 million people worldwide – 15% of the global population.

The study was published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Photo credit: Kariobinja via CC license

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