Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

New Gene Therapy Offers Hope to Seniors Who Suffer From Osteoarthritis, say AMAC

doctor gene therapy seniors suffer osteoarthritisIt’s a game changer for older Americans at a time when we are living longer than ever

WASHINGTON, DC – Osteoarthritis [OA] is the leading cause of aches and pains as we grow old.  In fact, the National Center for Biotechnology Information [NCBI] reports that OA is the most common joint disorder in the world and one of the most common sources of disability in the elderly.

But, now there may be a new non-addictive, holistic treatment for OA, according to the senior advocacy organization, the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

Currently, the most common way of treating the disease is to simply deal with the pain using NSAIDs [non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs].  But, a new non-surgical, non-opioid approach to dealing with the disease is in the offing.  It’s a gene therapy treatment originally developed for dogs with OA.  And, some researchers believe it could put an end not only to the often-agonizing discomfort it causes in humans, but also to the need for hip and knee replacements.

The treatment, which proved itself safe and effective in canines, is already in FDA-approved human clinical trials.

University of Colorado Professor, Dr. Linda Watkins, developed the pioneering procedure.  Watkins joined the University’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience in 1988 and, as one publication put it she quickly “began to rock the boat in the field of pain research.”

She theorized that glial cells, which are found throughout the body’s central nervous system, might be the real cause of chronic pain.  Little was known about glial cells at that time, and so she was greeted with skepticism.  But that didn’t stop her.  And, she eventually proved that those cells drive pain when you get sick or are hurt.  As you get better those same cells produce Interleukin 10, a potent naturally occurring anti-inflammatory.

Watkins explains that “all animals, from humans back through lizards and fish, have the DNA ‘recipe’ in the nucleus of their cells to make the interleukin-10,” which is important in keeping inflammation under control.

The problem is osteoarthritic cells do not make enough IL-10 to keep inflammation under control.  But, she says, “our IL-10 gene therapy provides the cells within the osteoarthritis joint with the ‘recipe’ for making IL-10 far more efficiently and effectively.  One single injection leads to very prolonged relief of pain and disability.”

AMAC president Dan Weber describes this pain management gene therapy as a potential game changer.  “Our life spans have increased rapidly in recent years and chronic pain can make it difficult, at best, to engage in even the simplest activity as we grow older.  It is estimated that more than 30 million Americans, mostly older Americans, suffer from Osteoarthritis.  That’s more than 12% of the population.  A medical breakthrough such as this one rarely occurs but it can have an incredibly positive, long-term impact on the elderly.  For many of them it can give them a new lease on life.”



The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.

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E. Clark
2 years ago

It is good that the medical community is finally embracing gene therapy, but in this case they are still treating the symptoms instead of repairing or preventing the problem in the first place.

Kathryn M.
2 years ago

Is this researcher in need of additional patient participants?

2 years ago

I’ll have to look into this, being one of those 30 million affected by OA. A terrible fall on black ice and, later, a torn meniscus set me up for at least one bad knee. One option is knee replacement, but now my doctor claims it’s not bad enough (“Ha!”) for replacement. Fine…errands are accomplished, but those long walks in the woods are now just fond memories. Maybe with IL-10, and cooperation from Medicare, I’ll be able to hit the trail again.
But I wonder if relieving inflammation is good enough. Does the underlying problem–lack of cartilage–get fixed?

2 years ago
Reply to  Kim

If I am reading this article correctly, this treatment would result in a natural boost in the production of IL-10 that alliviates pain. So you would experience less discomfort, which might be sufficient to allow for a return to those long walks in the woods. The treatment doesn’t appear to promote or restore cartilage, as that would entail cellular regeneration. Still keeping up with the progress of these trials would be beneficial. If successful in humans, it would ease a great deal of suffering.

Janice Butler
2 years ago

Is this treatment paid for by Medicare? What doctors are giving the injection in Memphis TN?

J. R. Boria
2 years ago
Reply to  Janice Butler

No it’s not nor by privet insurance the cost is @ $ 4,000 to 5,000 per shot

2 years ago
Reply to  Janice Butler

This is at the experimental drug trial stage. So first the trials have to prove successful in humans, without undue side effects, before we get to discussions on whether Medicare will pay for it. If the trials are successful, it would likely be covered by Medicare, as it would probably be cheaper that hip and joint replacements.

Norman Covell
2 years ago

Won’t further research and development efforts and getting the product to market face a big challenge from the pharmaceutical companies opposing research and legalization? If so, I believe Amac should play a leadership role in the battle!

Mary Kathryn Clark
2 years ago

Where are locations which offer gene therapy?

2 years ago

It is at the FDA human trial stage. If has to first be shown to work on humans without undue side effects.

Tom M
2 years ago

Ozone is the best option. Ozone helps to rebuild cartilage and the spongy stuff that makes bones work together. Ozone even works miracles in dentistry. Too bad Big Pharma will never turn to anything other than drugs. And the main street medical mafia will never tell us about a magnificent option other than drugs and surgery. Neither for me, thank you.

Sharon D
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom M

Where do you find ozone? My pain from OA is constant but I can’t find a doctor who wants to aggressively treat it. Cortisone injections are good for two or three weeks, then it is back to the same condition.

Steve R Douglas
2 years ago

Many folks, like me, have for over the past ten years have sought out alternative treatments for joint and ligament issues. Such treatments such as prolotherapy have helped many find relief from these maladies. Our insurance fails to cover such treatments because of Big Brothers AMA, Pharm, etc. There’s no incentive in it for them. Let’s push for greater insurance coverage for such things as Gene therapy instead of simply providing hype about its worth people like me cannot afford otherwise.

2 years ago

8 years ago, i started to take 1,000 mg of tart cherry in capsule form to cöntrol my high uric acid from causing me kidney stones and also to keep from getting gout. A total success!!! And with no side effects either. An extra benefit was my developing arthritic pain in my knees disappeared and has never come back. In you Google the benefits of taking tart cherry, you‘ll find that it fights inflamation. The brand U.S. important. I take Solgar costing under $22, a 90 capsule bottle. And i‘ve never gotten gout, no more kidney srones and Most importantly, i‘ve never changed my diet either. I eat all the beef i desire.

2 years ago
Reply to  Rik

RIK. I wonder if at 75, it would help me? I have broken many bones in falls that would do no harm to anyone else and have pain all the time. I get IV injection of Reclast once a year and have had no breaks since 2015. But being an old woman, I have also slowed down and am much more careful now.

2 years ago

This will be a miracle for theu masses that currently live with this crippling and disfiguring condition. A true blessing and I hope that the treatment is affordable for those who need it.

Carolyn Brown
2 years ago

How could a person get qualified for these injections ?

2 years ago

If the trials prove to be successful it would be a blessing for millions of OA suffers. The next step would be for Big Pharma to keep the cost affordable.

Jack Milazzo
2 years ago

Is that gene therapy an approved procedure for usage on humans?

2 years ago
Reply to  Jack Milazzo

Not yet. According to the article this is at the FDA human trials stage.

2 years ago

As long as it is ethically developed, this could be great! Anyone know if stem cells were involved? If adult stem cells, that would be ok.

Ruben Guevara
2 years ago
Reply to  Zelma

Zelma Thanks for that question, most of us r more worried about where we can get it than where r we getting it from!! I don’t want anything that will harm our dignity just so as not to suffer from my pain.

2 years ago

So, regarding your article an email about injections to stimulate the production of IL-10, how/where would a senior citizen with OA get the injections of gene therapy to alleviate the pain?

2 years ago

A great way to positively impact so many people. Hope the clinical trials show this to be highly effective AND that the treatment is affordable.

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