BioJoint – treatment of osteoarthritis

BioJoint Treatment of Osteoarthritis

With help of the Friends of ACES Foundation, BioJoint is developing and testing a new, injectable hydrogel for treatment of osteoarthritis.

Cartilage covers the articular ends of bones. Bone contains nerves, cartilage does not. Cartilage absorbs pressure and allows joints to be heavily loaded whilst making frictionless movements, all without any pain. Trauma, overloading and inflammation can damage the cartilage. This initial damage starts a vicious circle of further degeneration. Ultimately, the vicious circle breaks down the cartilage to such an extent that the underlying bone is completely uncovered. This painful state is known as symptomatic osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a common and disabling disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 9.6% of all men and 18.0% of all women 60 years of age and older suffer from symptomatic osteoarthritis. 80% of them are limited in their daily functioning and 25% is severely disabled.

The problem
In current standard care, it is not possible to stop or slow the vicious circle of osteoarthritis. As soon as the vicious circle has started, debilitating pain and loss of function are inevitable on the mid to long term. Interventions that prevent the vicious circle to reach its symptomatic phase do not exist. Once in the symptomatic phase, physiotherapy, pain killers and local injections are used to suppress symptoms. However, their effectiveness is limited and they can cause side effects, are time consuming and expensive. Ultimately, major surgery is needed in order to replace or fuse the affected joint.

The BioJoint solution
BioJoint has developed and patented a hydrogel that can be injected through a standard size needle. Once injected into the joint, the gel solidifies and forms a cushion between the bones of the joint. This cushion i. absorbs and spreads pressures that load the joint, ii. distracts the joint as it pushes out the bones, and iii. produces a hydrodynamic pressure on the cartilage that helps to restore cartilage metabolism. With BioJoint, we aim to a) prevent initial damage in patients at risk, b) prevent further degeneration and promote natural cartilage repair once damage is present, and c) provide symptom relief in the symptomatic phase.