Gene therapy helps arthritis pain, damage in mice

A gene therapy treatment that helped make cells more sensitive to the body’s own painkillers not only helped ease arthritis pain in mice but also reduced other symptoms, researchers said on Friday.

The researchers are now trying to get permission to try the treatment in people.

“This therapy can simply be injected anywhere in an injured joint, and the treatment will find the nerve endings,” said Dr. Stephanos Kyrkanides of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, who led the study.

The researchers used a well-tested method of gene therapy, employing a virus called an adeno-associated virus to carry a new gene into the body. In this case, the new gene was one called the human mu-opioid receptor — a kind of molecular doorway that the body’s natural painkillers use to get into cells.

The more of them a cell has, the more sensitive it is to these painkilling chemicals.

Source:  Reuters

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