A simple yet effective new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis may be in sight; researchers have now created a hydrogel that could absorb the excess joint fluid that arises with disease, as well as deliver medications to affected joints.
Created by researchers from the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in the Republic of Korea, the gel works by responding to nitric oxide, which is a gas that has been linked to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
The team recently reported the details of their novel hydrogel in the journal Advanced Materials.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder estimated to affect around 1.5 million people in the United States. According to the Arthritis Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis is almost three times more common among women than men, and women are likely to develop the condition at an earlier age.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakingly attacks healthy joint tissue, primarily in the joints of the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and feet.