Inventors: Dr. Dror Robinson, Dr. Talia Weinstein, Prof. Uzi Gafter and Prof. Zvi Nevo
Background: GAGs are the most abundant polysaccharides which play important roles in many body systems. GAGs are major constituents of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of cartilage, skin, blood vessels, synovial fluid, bone and others. Their deficiency is associated with a wide range of disorders. When the GAGs found in articular cartilage are reduced or depleted, the body develops various forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, leading to a decrease in cartilage thickness and reduced cartilage stiffness.
Technology: One of the systems that balances GAG synthesis in the body is the renin-angiotensin system, an hormonal system that plays an important role in regulating blood volume, arterial pressure, and cardiac and vascular functions. Studies have shown that when renin-angiotensin levels increase, GAGs content decreases, thus a decrease of renin-angiotensin can be achieved by the administration of inhibitors.
This forms the basis of the invention, which has been experimented in vitro and in vivo trials with various kinds of renin-angiotensin inhibitors. We have demonstrated that rennin-angiotensin inhibitors can activate the de novo synthesis of GAGs and thus replenish the loss of GAGs in osteoarthritis cartilage. These are drugs currently being prescribed for other disorders (e.g. high blood pressure, renal disorder).
Market: Osteoarthritis is a highly prevalent disease, affecting approximately 12% of the elderly population with the common seven major pharmaceutical markets around the world. Since osteoarthritis is associated with aging, the impact of this disease will continue to grow over the next decade as life span and the average age increases. With no cure available, physicians can only attempt to control the symptoms.
It is estimated that the osteoarthritis drug market sales topped $3.5 billion in 2002. The primary drug classes include primarily analgesics, traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), selective cyclooxygenase (COX-II) inhibitors, and oral and injectable steroids. These treatments do not offer a cure for the disease.