Researchers have developed a vaccine that blocks the effects of the main cause of pain in osteoarthritis in mice.
In a collaborative effort between the Jenner Institute and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at the University of Oxford, with colleagues in the University of Bern, and the Latvian Biomedical Research & Study Centre, scientists have developed and tested a vaccine that could be used to treat chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA), by blocking the cause of the pain – nerve growth factor (NGF).
The researchers developed a virus-like particle vaccine that triggers the immune system to produce antibodies to block naturally-occurring NGF.
The new vaccine was tested in mice that had signs of painful OA (uneven distribution of weight across the hind legs), and it was shown to visibly reverse these effects.
Their findings were published in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease.
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in humans but fewer than 25 per cent of patients currently have adequate pain control for their condition, and long-term use of painkillers are well known to pose significant risks.
The vaccine will be further accessed for safety issues before being used in human patients.
For the estimated 630 million people worldwide affected by OA, the vaccine is promising in helping them eventually overcome the pain. [APBN]