oa22-kneeThe American Chemical Society (ACS) recently announced in a news release that researchers are developing a gel that when compressed, or applied to a painful knee joint, releases anti-inflammatory medicine. The material, researchers say, could hold promise for osteoarthritis (OA) patients.

In the study, which appears in the ACS journal Biomacromolecules, Xinqiao Jia, Chandran R. Sabanayagam, and colleagues note that in the past researchers have developed a wide range of “smart” hydrogels that release medications over several days. However, according to Jia et al very few respond to physical pressure. To address this, the researchers opted to develop an on-demand drug-delivery system for pain management and tissue repair.

To this end, the researchers designed a special type of hydrogel engineered to respond to compression and mimic the pressure between joints that occurs in daily movement. They then added the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone, a treatment reportedly sometimes used to address arthritis. According to the study’s results, when the hydrogel was compressed in the laboratory, it boosted the release of the drug. The release notes that the researchers are now currently testing the smart pain medications in animal models.

Source: ACS