Important Step Forward in Osteoarthritis Research: Bioactive Collagen Peptides Stimulate the Regeneration of Cartilage Tissue

September 14, 2009

MONTREAL and KIEL, Germany, September 14 /PRNewswire/ — 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 Harvard Medical School 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 Harvard/Tufts clinical study

The cell-based experiments of the CRI confirm the findings of a clinical
trial conducted by the Harvard Medical School 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 Harvard/Tufts
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 Harvard/Tufts 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
Harvard/Tufts 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.

Based in Kiel/Germany, the Collagen Research Institute (CRI) was
established in 2003 as an independent research organization. The institute’s
activities centre on degenerative changes to the connective tissue and the
development of complementary and alternative therapies in the area of
osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and wound healing. Since its establishment CRI
has devoted special attention to investigating the effects of collagen
peptides on the extracellular matrix of the articular cartilage.

    Collagen Research Institute

    Dr. Steffen Oesser
    Tel. +49-(0)431-56-06-610
    Fax  +49-(0)431-56-06-613

SOURCE Collagen Research Institute

Source: newswire

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