Arthritis is one of the most pervasive diseases of old age. It may not be lethal, but it is widespread and can have a significant impact on quality of life. It’s also hard to treat. Luckily, one new drug may represent a significant step forward in the management of osteoarthritis in particular, but also cell aging more generally (https://longevity.technology/news/new-data-suggest-investigational-osteoarthritis-drug-may-have-promising-senotherapeutic-effect/).
Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in the joints degenerates, along with the bone beneath it. This can lead to a painful stiffness that only gets worse over time, potentially leading to a loss of motion. Some estimates put its prevalence at about 1 in 7 adults. There’s no cure, though painkillers, light exercise and mobility aids can be used to manage symptoms and preserve quality of life. In some cases, joint replacement surgery can help.
The new drug is called APPA. It was recently presented at the 2023 Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) World Congress, highlighting the promising data from its most recent trials. It seems that APPA may not just be an effective form of pain relief for osteoarthritis but could also reduce – if not outright reverse – the effects of senescence.
Senescence is about how cells age. They stop dividing to create new cells, hanging around in the body building up toxins and causing inflammation instead. This doesn’t just contribute to arthritis but also other age-related diseases ranging from Parkinson’s to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Senotherapeutics are a new breed of drug aiming to counteract this process, thereby improving longevity.
APPA is delivered orally but acts on the cartilage and bones in multiple ways. It doesn’t just have a senolytic effect, meaning it reduces inflammation by lowering the number of senescent cells, but there’s a suggestion it can even reverse the effects of senescence. That means that old, harmful cells could be returned to a healthy, fully functioning state again.
This has implications that go far beyond osteoarthritis, though its ability to reduce damage and destruction to both cartilage and bone is obviously invaluable. Now funding is being sought for the next stage of medical trials, seeing how APPA works on osteoarthritis in the long term. There is currently a lack of effective oral medication for osteoarthritis in its most severe and chronic progressions. Hopefully, APPA or similar drugs will one day be available for a range of age-related diseases.