The vaccine was found effective in relieving pain in mice. Whether this will work on humans is yet to be seen.
Arthritis, one of the most commonly heard conditions refers to joint pain or joint diseases. Regardless of age and sex, it affects all people. However, it is more frequently found in women and the elderly. According to Arthritis Foundation, patients affected by the disease experience pain, swelling, and stiffness. They also find it very difficult to move the affected joints. The pain may be so severe that the affected individual may find it difficult to do daily activities and is bound to stay for years. However, a window of hope has opened up for arthritis patients suffering from Osteoarthritis.
According to MSN, researchers from Oxford University have come up with a vaccine that blocks a Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) that causes the agony in arthritis patients. The vaccine which was first tested in mice has the ability to trigger the immune system to work against the naturally occurring NGF in mice causing numbness thus reducing pain. Currently, patients are advised to take Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs on a regular basis to deal with the continuous pain and swelling. The vaccine is a major breakthrough for patients who suffer from daily agony.
"This is the first successful vaccination to target pain in osteoarthritis, one of the biggest healthcare challenges of our generation," said Professor Tonia Vincent, co-author of the study published in Annals of Rheumatic Disease to MSN.
Researchers believe that the vaccine which was initially tested in mice can be modified for humans. They described the vaccine as 'very promising'.
The vaccine developed was found to produce antibiotics that work against the NGF. The vaccine when tested showed that the mice stood rather than leaning to one side due to the pain. The mice also appeared to have higher levels of antibiotics which is associated with an analgesic response. The vaccine named CuMVttNGF was found to relieve pain in mice before and after the pain had taken hold.
Researchers added that the cost of osteoarthritis to the economy of developed countries is 1-2.5 percent of the GDP. According to Arthritis UK, the number of working days lost due to arthritis will reach 25.9million by 2030. By 2050, the numbers are bound to rise to 27.2million working days, reported MSN.
The condition, usually observed as people grow older, leads to the inflammation of the joints. It is caused due to the wearing out of flexible tissues at the end of these joints. The condition is seen to worsen with age and is natural. Patients suffering from osteoarthritis are generally required to replace joints as they find it difficult to walk, climb stairs, etc. Being one of the most common forms of Arthritis, Osteoarthritis is among the expensive conditions to treat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Osteoarthritis is the second most costly health condition treated in the US. Moreover, the painkillers are found to have significant risks when used for a prolonged period.
Meanwhile, the researchers at Oxford are optimistic about the vaccine being more effective, and cheaper, than other treatments now available.
"Whilst there are still safety issues that need to be considered before these types of approaches can be used in patients, we are reassured that this vaccine design allows us to control antibody levels and thus tailor treatment to individual cases according to need," said Professor Vincent. Dr. Stephen Simpson, from Charity Versus Arthritis, which funded the research added that they were proud to support research like this that's meant to tackle a very urgent issue.