Working in collaboration with Kiel University, researchers at the Kiel- based Collagen Research Institute (CRI) have demonstrated the stimulating effect of special bioactive collagen peptides (FORTIGEL(R)) in the context of cell experiments. Last weekend the CRI presented its research findings at the congress of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) in Montreal. The investigations of the CRI provide an explanation for the findings of a joint clinical trial carried out by /org>Harvard Medical School/org>>/> and Tufts Medical Center - likewise presented at the congress. With the aid of special imaging (MRI) techniques this clinical trial demonstrated that FORTIGEL(R) stimulated cell metabolism in the knee-joint cartilage and promotes the regeneration of cartilage tissue.
In cooperation with Kiel University the CRI researchers applied molecular-biology and protein-chemistry analysis methods directly to the cells in order to demonstrate the stimulating effect of FORTIGEL(R). Developed by GELITA AG, this product contains a special combination of high-purity bioactive collagen peptides. "In our investigations we showed that - alongside the synthesis of Type II collagen - FORTIGEL(R) induces the increased production of aggrecan, a special proteoglycan which is of central importance to the cartilage function," explains Dr. Steffen Oesser, Director of the CRI. This provides experimental proof that the application of bioactive collagen peptides stimulates the renewed synthesis of the extracellular cartilage matrix.
Cell experiment underpins the /org>Harvard/org>>/>//org>Tufts/org>>/> clinical study
The cell-based experiments of the CRI confirm the findings of a clinical trial conducted by the /org>Harvard Medical School/org>>/> and the Tufts Medical Center. The CRI has clearly demonstrated at the cellular level that FORTIGEL(R) brings about an increase in proteoglycan. Previously, the /org>Harvard/org>>/>//org>Tufts/org>>/> clinical trial had proved the regenerative effect of FORTIGEL(R) on the knee-joint cartilage using an objective imaging technique. These two investigations complement each other.
The double-blinded, placebo-controlled /org>Harvard/org>>/>//org>Tufts/org>>/> trial involved 30 patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee and revealed a significant regeneration of the cartilage tissue in the FORTIGEL(R) group. In the placebo group cartilage degeneration progressed as before.
To analyze the structural changes in the cartilage tissue the /org>Harvard/org>>/>//org>Tufts/org>>/> researchers deployed a special imaging technique (dGEMRIC). Following the injection of a special dye into the patient's knee joint it is possible to determine the proteoglycan density in the cartilage with a high degree of accuracy. The results of this clinical trial indicate a significant increase in proteoglycan after the application of FORTIGEL(R). This delivers clinical confirmation for the experimental findings of the CRI.
Treatment of osteoarthritis
"The targeted manipulation of the cartilage metabolism opens up new possibilities for the treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis," emphasizes Dr. Oesser. Unlike analgesic and antirheumatic drugs, which merely alleviate the symptoms and effects, FORTIGEL(R) now offers the potential for an alimentary, causal therapy.
Worldwide approximately 135 million people suffer from osteoarthritis. Experts predict a rapid rise in this figure - above all in the industrialized nations. The prevention of arthritic diseases enjoys top priority, due not least to the high costs incurred by the healthcare systems.