Small molecule could make a big difference for arthritis patients

Joint cartilage (Image by Nancy Liu)
Will there come a time when a patient with arthritis can forgo joint replacement surgery in favor of a shot? USC Stem Cell scientist Denis Evseenko has reason to be optimistic.

In a new publication in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, Evseenko’s team—led by PhD student Ruzanna Shkhyan, postdoc Ben Van Handel and medical student Jacob Bogdanov—describes the promise of a new molecule aptly named “Regulator of Cartilage Growth and Differentiation,” or RCGD 423 for short.

Discovered by the Evseenko team, RCGD 423 enhances regeneration while curbing inflammation. When the scientists applied RCGD 423 to joint cartilage cells in the laboratory, these cells proliferated more and died less. When the scientists injected RCGD 423 into the knees of rats with damaged cartilage, the animals could more effectively heal their injuries.

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