Berlin, June 8, 2012. Osteoarthritis (OA) affects more than 20 million Germans, or 27 % of the German population, according to the data published by the First German National Health Survey . It is the most frequent joint disease, and it has been estimated that the number of OA cases will increase the next few years. Its most common symptoms are pain, joint inflammation and functional disability, associated with limitations in routine activities such as walking or only opening and closing one’s hand.
Osteoarthritis has been perceived for many years as an aging-associated disease. However, recent research projects such as the one presented by Professor Yves Henrotin, Director of the Bone and Cartilage Research Unit at the University of Liège, Belgium, during a symposium of the Spanish pharmaceutical company Bioiberica in the European League Rheumatism Congress (EULAR), confirm that the severity of OA is associated to the degree of inflammation of the synovial membrane, which is the membrane that covers joints. Thus, a severe degree of inflammation would be associated to increased loss of cartilage and pain, and therefore to a rapid progression of the disease. To be more precise, Professor Henrotin explains, “We have observed that the uncontrolled formation of new blood vessels in the synovial membrane leads to a more accelerated progression of the disease”. Their research paper, recently published by the Arthritis Research & Therapy journal, concludes that chondroitin sulfate might thwart this response, and therefore reduce inflammation. Their findings could be translated into new treatments that improve pain and mobility of the affected joints.
Also during the EULAR 2012 Congress, Professor Jean-Pierre Pelletier, Director of the Unit in Osteoarthritis research at the University of Móntréal (Canada) contributed an additional insight which lend further support to Professor Henrotin’ findings. Professor Pelletier ensured that chondroitin sulfate “protects from cartilage volume loss, thus reducing the need for prostatic surgery in knee osteoarthritis and synovitis patients”
Professor Pelletier based his assertion on the results of a clinical test published in 2011 by Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, which consisted of giving osteoarthritis patients chondroitin sulfate or placebo. Nuclear Magnetic Imaging scans of their joints demonstrated that the intake of chondroitin sulfate protect from loss of cartilage volume as well as from subchondral bone injuries. After an initial four-year-long monitoring phase, researchers observed that the placebo group underwent prostatic surgery much more often (71%) than the group receiving chondroitin sulfate (29%).
Both papers’ results allow us to say that chondroitin sulfate reduces inflammation, improves pain and mobility of the affected joints and can delay and/or reduce the need for prosthetic surgery, while having a high safety profile. All that will results into major healthcare costs savings, as well as into significant improvements in the patient’s quality of life.
Chondroitin sulfate is one of the most important components of the cartilage extracellular matrix. It is also one of the molecules most frequently used in OA treatment. Both the European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) guidelines have granted Chondroitin Sulfate Ia Level of Evidence, that is, maximum level of research evidence and security.
These new scientific findings were presented at the “Progression of osteoarthritis: predictors and treatment” symposium hosted by Bioibérica GmbH during the EULAR 2012 congress being held these days in Berlin.
Bioiberica is one of the world's leading companies in the field of joint health. The company has been researching, developing, producing and marketing pharmaceuticals and dietary substances of the highest quality for more than 35 years. Bioiberica was founded in 1975 in Barcelona, Spain, and is now present in more than 70 countries world-wide. Since last October is active in Germany with a new head office in Munich. Since January 2012, with Kronosan® arthro (chondroitin sulfate) there´s a food for particular medical purposes (PARNUTS) as the first product available in Germany. Another product launches are planned.
The efficacy and safety of the Bioiberica products have been proved in comprehensive clinical trials as well as in numerous international articles and publications. Every year, Bioiberica hosts various international scientific symposia at the major congresses for rheumatology and orthopedics. In this way, the company promotes the global transfer of knowledge and maintains long-term co-operation with leading international research institutions.
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